Vincent Carifi, M.D. is trading in his surgical scrubs for a suit and tie as he becomes the first Chief Medical Officer for Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center.
In his new role, Dr. Carifi, who has been general surgeon for 40 years and a breast surgeon for the last 14, will act as a liaison between physicians practicing at the hospital and hospital administration.
"I have seen it all and I have done it all. There is nothing the physicians can tell me that I haven't seen or dealt with myself,'' Dr. Carifi said with a laugh. "I think this new position will be a great way to better communicate with our doctors.''
Heart of Florida CEO Ann Barnhart said the decision to appoint Dr. Carifi as the CMO was an easy one.
"Vinny Carifi is the perfect fit for this new position at Heart of Florida. He knows the physicians, he understands their needs, he knows how the hospital works, and understands the importance of aligning our interests.'' Barnhart said. "More and more hospitals are using Chief Medical Officers to serve as another connection between medical staff and administration. The CMO provides an understanding to the Medical Staff of the hospital's imperatives and in turn provides the clinical perspective to the Administration's strategic plan and vision. It makes sense to have a well-respected and objective person in that position. I know Dr. Carifi will do a great job leading us through this necessary alignment of goals.''
Dr. Carifi said he is spending a lot of time right now attending meetings.
"I am getting to know more about all the aspects of the hospital,'' he said. "I am going to all the section meetings so I can hear what is going on in the surgical department and in the radiology department and on the floors. We do an excellent job here at Heart of Florida. We have great people who really care about providing the best healthcare possible.''
Dr. Carifi said one of the things he plans to look at first is the length of a patient's stay in the hospital.
"We want to make sure that the patient is staying in the hospital only for as long as they need to be here. We want to successfully address what brought them here in the first place and to make sure they are on the road to recovery before we discharge them,'' he said.
Dr. Carifi, who came to Florida from New Jersey in 1977, has been a general surgeon, a breast surgeon and a breast care physician for his entire career.
When asked about the transition away from direct patient care, Dr. Carifi said: "I loved what I was doing, but I was ready for a change. It was time for a change and when (CEO) Ann (Barnhart) approached me about this position, it seemed like a perfect fit."
Although he is ready for the change, he did admit it was a little strange to not be doing any surgeries on a recent Thursday.
"It was the first Thursday that I haven't had surgery,'' he said. "That is going to take a little getting used to, but I am looking forward to this new position. This is going to be a good thing for both the Medical Staff and the hospital.''