Episode 1 – Physician Leadership: The Foundation

The Licensed to Lead podcast is for physicians, physician leaders, or anyone who thinks healthcare needs a transformation. Licensed to Lead means that physicians must establish the vision and the medical standards in our healthcare organizations so that excellent patient care is the central focus. Currently, unlike other traditional professions, medicine is not led by members of the profession. Physicians pay a steep price for this fact with a dramatic loss of professional autonomy, a financial mindset imported from business schools, and a focus on command and control by people who don’t fully understand the field. Even more importantly, patients and communities pay a steep price.  When doctors and other caregivers become commodities, the many interwoven pieces of the entire healthcare system are harmed.

Episode One covers four issues that are foundational to the Licensed to Lead podcast:

In this episode, Patty Fahy, MD, the host of Licensed to Lead, makes the case that physicians are uniquely positioned to lead by the very nature of medical training—not despite it.  She refutes those who question the leadership qualities of physicians and clarifies why physician leadership is the ticket out of our current healthcare mess.

  1. Medicine as a traditional profession and how physicians must resume leadership of the medical profession and the venues where medicine is practiced. Physicians’ broad and deep understanding of healthcare and their technical expertise in medicine are missing when leaders come from business schools.
  2. The importance of physician autonomy is the centerpiece of Licensed to Lead. The loss of autonomy has crippled the medical profession and medical professionals as well as the communities who rely on excellent, accessible healthcare.
  3. The corporate practice of medicine statutes are laws that are critical for physicians to understand in terms of meaning, history, and current implications for practice.
  4. An unhealthy dynamic of disdain for doctors can arise in organizations when the managers who seek to control physicians do not have expertise in the field. Antipathy for physicians is an unhealthy dynamic that underpins the crazy-making lack of support that physicians experience.

The message of the inaugural episode of Licensed to Lead is that leaders in healthcare must create a healthy organizational culture that is able to align everyone around creating the right outcomes for patients. A healthy organizational culture translates to fulfilling careers for nurses, technicians, physicians, clerks, and administrators. The premise of LTL is that all stakeholders, including patients and the community—become aligned when there is excellent physician leadership at the helm.

This inaugural podcast concludes with these suggestions:

  1. Watch the California Medical Board video regarding the Corporate Practice of Medicine doctrine. Everyone should watch it but if you are practicing in California it is a must. Here’s a link:


  1. Know what is written down in the legal documents of your organization. What, specifically, do by-laws and other documents describe as the accountability and authority of physicians? Often the legal language complies with statutes requiring professional autonomy but does not match the reality of a physician’s day-to-day practice.
  2. Support excellent leadership wherever you find it, whether the leader is a physician or not. Be a good follower as well as leader and when it’s your turn to raise your hand for leadership, please do.
  3. Don’t nod, smile, or stay silent when administrators of any background, physician or not, make disparaging comments about physicians.
  4. Please stop using the word provider.

Take a listen to the Licensed to Lead podcast available on all podcast platforms. If this resonates with you or you think that it will be of help or inspiration to someone you know, please share.

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A note from the Licensed to Lead podcast host Patty Fahy, MD:

Thank you for reading and listening. Visit FahyConsulting.com to learn more about how we work with physicians and other leaders to create healthy work cultures. Also—join future podcast conversations by sending me an email or leaving me a voice message. I would love to hear YOUR voice!