AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is running a series of spotlight columns featuring new AMDA Board of Directors members. Bethany Village Medical Director Dr. Meenakshi Patel was recently profiled in the organization’s newsletter. Here is her story.
Meenakshi Patel, MD, FACP, CMD, a multi-facility medical director in Ohio, knows how important it is for patients and family members to have someone who listens to them. “A wife came to my practice with her husband after he experienced an acute change. She had been to three physicians already, and she felt as if none of them were listening to her and weren’t able to give her answers. She felt frustrated and alone. Within a week, I identified the problem, diagnosing her husband with a brain tumor,” she said. While the prognosis was poor, the woman was grateful to have a clinician who she felt was on her side. She sent Dr. Patel flowers with a note that said “Thanks for being a life saver.” Dr. Patel said, “In truth, I couldn’t save her husband’s life, but she was relieved to have an answer and someone to listen and help her.”
As a new member of the AMDA Board of Directors (Representative, State President’s Council), Dr. Patel looks forward to working to help post-acute/long-term care (PA/LTC) practitioners communicate effectively with their patients, families, and interdisciplinary teams. “This is a growing, dynamic organization. It gives you a sense of place because PA/LTC practitioners have long been ignored. We are a vibrant part of the care process in this setting. Working on the AMDA Board will enable me to help move the association on its journey to widen our scope, grow our programs and services, and be proactive in an evolving health care world. I am excited to be involved.”
After many years working in this setting, Dr. Patel has much to be proud of – including two deficiency-free facilities under her leadership. She also teaches residents, fellows, and students and has inspired many of them to pursue careers in long-term care. “I am proudest of caring for people with dementia, helping them through their journey, listening to them, and helping their family members cope with this very draining illness,” she said. She added, “I conduct a lot of research in this area in hopes of making some finding that will help these individuals and improve our care for them.”
Dr. Patel looks forward to addressing the challenges facing her profession. For instance, she said, “The bundled payment concept is making nursing homes nervous. It will result in increased competition and an urgency on the part of PA/LTC facilities to improve their reputations, level of competency, and visibility as they vie to partner with acute care facilities.” She added, “They will be seeking to show that they provide quality care, have a strong physician presence, and have low rates of rehospitalizations and adverse events.”
Although new to the AMDA Board, Dr. Patel is no stranger to the organization. An AMDA member and Certified Medical Director (CMD) for nearly 20 years, she has been a House of Delegates member and serves on the Communications Committee. She has been a popular presenter at AMDA annual meetings on topics such as diabetes and osteoporosis; and she has published studies in JAMDA. On the state level, Dr. Patel is a past president of the Ohio Medical Directors Association, and she remains active in this organization.