By Leslie Ridgeway

Thomas McAfee, MD, dean of clinical affairs at UC San Diego Health Sciences, has been appointed the CEO of the newly forming Keck Medicine of USC Medical Foundation. He begins his new role on Sept. 3.

The development of a community medical foundation intended to add primary and specialty practices into the Keck Medicine network was a key initiative identified as part of the clinical enterprise-­wide strategic plan.

Thomas McAfee will be the CEO of the newly forming Keck Medicine of USC Medical Foundation. He begins his new role on Sept. 3. (Photo/Nick Abadilla Photography)

Thomas McAfee will be the CEO of the newly forming Keck Medicine of USC Medical Foundation. He begins his new role on Sept. 3. (Photo/Nick Abadilla Photography)

“As CEO of the new foundation, McAfee will play a key role in developing the health system’s physician alignment strategy,” said Shawn Sheffield, MBA, MHSA, chief strategy and system development officer for Keck Medicine of USC. “A critical function will be to establish the foundation and attract marquee groups and physicians to affiliate with Keck Medicine of USC.”

The foundation model in development will be the Keck Medicine of USC home for acquired physician practices, enabling the enterprise to provide a comprehensive range of health services in a broader geographic footprint. It also will allow Keck Medicine to expand its participation in the managed care environment, and service the health needs of USC employees more efficiently.

“Tom McAfee has both the clinical and health-­care business management experience to excel in this new role,” said Tom Jackiewicz, MPH, senior vice president and CEO of USC Health, to whom McAfee will report. “I am confident that his leadership will take our health-­care system to a new level of excellence.”

McAfee will develop and maintain close working relationships with physician groups, local hospitals and other clinical service providers; create an integrated electronic clinical practice environment to facilitate care coordination and streamline referrals; and promote collaboration among physicians within the foundation and with USC clinical faculty. In his role, he also will work closely with Keck Medicine department chairs, as well as leadership of the Keck Medical Center of USC, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital and the USC Care Medical Group (composed of Keck School of Medicine of USC faculty physicians), which are all part of Keck Medicine of USC.

“Physicians in independent practice are increasingly financially tethered to medical centers,” said John Niparko, MD, president of USC Care Medical Group. “Our current economics and health reform are accelerating this trend. These partnerships have many working parts, however. With his experience, McAfee offers insight and flexible thinking in developing well-­managed physician foundations. He knows how to build these relationships. His appointment reflects Keck Medicine’s desire to develop new approaches and an exceptional system of health care for Southern California.”

McAfee said he is looking forward to joining Keck Medicine of USC and being part of transformative decisions affecting the clinical enterprise.

“USC has developed an ambitious vision to be a top performing medical school and health system regionally and nationally,” McAfee said. “Tom Jackiewicz has assembled a first-­rate leadership system, and the faculty and department chairs impressed me as having the commitment and passion to be the best. It’s an exciting time to be at USC.”

Of the opportunity to shape a new medical foundation, McAfee said, “It’s a new strategic opportunity to create something that hasn’t existed at USC before. The key success will be selecting the right physicians. We have a powerful brand name in Los Angeles and beyond, and to preserve that brand equity, we need to include physicians who are the best in their fields and in the market.”

McAfee’s background includes more than 10 years at the UC San Diego Health System, where he is also president of the UC San Diego Ambulatory Surgery Center, CEO of the UC San Diego Faculty Practice, and clinical professor in the Department of Medicine at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Prior to his UCSD tenure, McAfee served as associate chief medical officer and faculty member at the University of California, San Francisco, vice president of UC-­Stanford Health Care, and executive vice president of the Brown and Toland Medical Group. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., and his doctor of medicine degree at Georgetown University, and performed his medical internship and residency at Georgetown University Hospital.

McAfee’s duties at Keck Medicine of USC will include leading the development of the medical foundation’s clinical quality agenda, setting standards of care, measuring and improving clinical outcomes, and disseminating best practices. He will chair key physician committees aimed at aligning clinical programs, integrating standards of care, and driving continuous improvement of quality of the Keck Medicine of USC Medical Foundation.