Reimagining care – Legacy appoints a Chief Medical Officer for Silverton

April 2022 Posted in Community, People, Your Health

By Brenna Wiegand

Christopher Thoming, MD, MBA, has been selected to serve as the vice president and chief medical officer for Legacy Silverton Medical Center. Dr. Thoming will work closely with Legacy Silverton Medical Center President Jonathan Avery and Chief Nursing Officer Karen Brady to promote safe, high-quality care and clinical operations and contribute to the medical center and service area’s strategy, growth, and operations.

Dr. Christopher Thoming

Legacy has instituted chief medical officer positions at all its hospitals. Under the purview of Legacy Health Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Seth Podolsky, Thoming is the chief medical officer for Legacy Silverton Medical Center and Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center.

“The creation of new, critical physician roles at Legacy Health will help reimagine new and better ways to align and create a transformational approach to care,” Kristin Whitney, Public Relations Strategist for Legacy Health, said. “Dr. Thoming will be instrumental in Legacy Health’s system integration, working on quality and clinical initiatives that cross system lines to support the organization while balancing the needs of Marion County residents.”

Dr. Thoming earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Oregon State University and his medical degree and MBA from Oregon Health Sciences University. 

He spent 30 years as an emergency room doctor prior to his appointment as vice president of medical affairs in Legacy Health’s Willamette Valley Region.

In 2019 he turned his focus to enhancing physician relations, building strategic partnerships and improving quality in the region composed of Legacy Meridian Park and Legacy Silverton medical centers.

“There are some unique challenges for our area, including medical staff development,” Thoming said. “Much of our time is spent looking strategically at where our needs are for physician talent and bringing those services here. This includes the whole spectrum of medical professionals.”

Being thrust into a protracted global pandemic has put unprecedented strain on health care throughout the nation, but it has also helped health care organizations identify weak points. This information has catalyzed discussions that were going on prior to the pandemic.

“We were discussing how we can enhance our quality and provide equitable access to people and now an important factor in all of this is the use of telehealth,” Thoming said. “The pandemic has increased its adoption and its ultimate place in our healthcare armamentarium and we’re going to figure out how to use it to extend the leverage of these precious resources across our area rather than having patients drive downtown for care.

“I think there’s a lot to be said about what’s coming in terms of precision medicine and working to change our operational approach to health care by becoming more patient-centric,” Thoming said. “The customers determine our value and care should be about the customer and on the customer’s timetable and we should be as far upstream as possible in the way we design our program and how we deploy our people.”

The inclusion of these positions brings the physician into operational leadership and can lend a more clinical eye to decisions around how their health care is delivered.

“This is a positive for the communities in our system and we’re off to a good start,” Thoming said. “Time will tell in terms of how the actual physicians manifest themselves.

“We’ve got a great group of folks providing excellent strategic leadership and I can only see it enhancing the type of care we provide at Meridian Park and Silverton.”

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