Ep 123 – The Calling: Family, Faith, and the Future of Healthcare, with Dr. Gordon Chen

For anyone following healthcare transformation in our country, you have undoubtedly heard about ChenMed – a family-owned, primary-care physician run organization that serves a challenging patient population under a full-risk global primary care reimbursement model. This is a high touch primary care company that has become the gold standard for how healthcare should be delivered in our country. In a prior episode of Race to Value, “Changing the World through a Full-Risk Value-Based Care Model”, Dr. Gordon Chen discussed how ChenMed is delivering transformative primary care – at scale – with superior health outcomes. It was one of our best podcast episodes ever, and we invited him back to talk about the Chen family calling to care for the underserved. This week’s episode is focused on his new book (co-written with his brother Dr. Christopher Chen) entitled, “The Calling: A Memoir of Family, Faith, and the Future of Healthcare” – an inspiration for living a purpose-driven life in the attainment of value-based care. The ChenMed success story of providing care to the most vulnerable among us is really a story about an American journey of a family guided by Faith and Love. The Calling tells the inspirational story of the Chen family, which over two generations not only completed the American Dream, but also transformed American medicine. This is a story about the life experiences that shaped two generations of innovative leaders in healthcare that made ChenMed the beacon for value-based care in our nation.

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Episode Bookmarks:

01:30 Introduction to ChenMed and Dr. Gordon Chen (referencing prior episode of Race to Value, “Changing the World through a Full-Risk Value-Based Care Model”)

02:30 The Calling: A Memoir of Family, Faith, and the Future of Healthcare” – an inspiration for living a purpose-driven life in the attainment of value-based care.

04:30 Inspiration from John C. Maxwell and “The 5 Levels of Leadership

06:45 Positional leadership is the current state of the majority of physicians in healthcare currently.

07:15 Leadership is influence – how Drs. Chris and Gordon Chen adapted their leadership to influence broad growth in others to achieve service excellence.

08:45 How Value-Based Care magnifies physician leadership

10:00 The Chens find meaning in their value-based care mission through their connection to Family and Faith

11:00 There is no line separating our Family, our Faith, and our work at ChenMed.  It all blends together in a beautiful synergy.”

12:30 Healthcare needs to be transformed, and you must start with those in greatest need.”

13:30 How the Chen Family transcended suffering during their journey to America, experiences with poverty and homelessness, and a false cancer scare

15:45 Finding the beauty in suffering through a faith-based perspective

17:00 Struggle produces perseverance, perseverance leads to mature character, and mature character offers hope.”

18:00 The ancient wisdom of the Chinese saying —“One to grow, one to maintain, one to lose.”

20:00 Dr. Chen on the importance of living up to one’s God-given potential.

21:00 The Chris and Gordon Chen relationship —“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

22:00 The business model for ChenMed as a high-touch, relationship-based, tech-enabled primary care practice.

23:00 The early work of Dr. James Chen as an early pioneer of value-based care.

25:00 How the early struggles and suffering of Dr. James Chen shaped the ChenMed focus on serving our most vulnerable.

27:00 What is the core essence of the ChenMed model and how does relationship-based care improve care outcomes?

28:00 An excerpt from a letter written by a ChenMed physician who had recently left the fee-for-service matrix

30:00 A Physician Culture that is “A.L.L. in”—Aligned with mission, vision, and values and has Learning agility and Learning humility.

30:30 How the open learning mindset of medical students changes once they enter into practice.

31:00 Hiring prospective physicians that are open to learning and have a drive to fix healthcare.

32:00 Creating a mission-driven physician culture based on learning agility and learning humility.

33:45 How experiential learning supports rapid growth and scale at ChenMed.

35:00 What can medical schools do differently to help students lead with more empathy and influence?

36:45 The Chen Family 7-part Mission Statement and how that is manifested in the ChenMed Mission to “honor seniors with affordable VIP care that delivers better health.”

38:30 The ChenMed model only works if you have the right people, with the right culture and values.”

39:45 The impact of company culture on patient outcomes.

40:30 The need for more purpose-driven opportunities in America.

41:30 Building ChenMed as a “city on a hill” for healthcare and how their impact can change the world.

43:45 The industry of healthcare is moving in the wrong direction, but primary care is the main beacon of light shining in the darkness.

45:30 How the prioritization of a mission-focus will ultimately lead to margin.

46:00 Optimism for the future of healthcare.

47:00 The goal of our book, “The Calling” is to inspire others to change the world…and we can.”

48:30 Dr. Gordon Chen provides his thoughts on the future of Medicare Advantage and how MA provides an opportunity for PCP leadership.

49:45 Dr. Chen’s perspective on the new ACO REACH payment model.

51:30 Parting thoughts from Dr. Chen and his new book “The Calling: A Memoir of Family, Faith, and the Future of Healthcare