From a young age, Dr. Halsey was interested in public safety and knew he wanted to become a doctor. He trusted the process, listened to his mentors, and navigated his clinical interests until he found his passion. Throughout his 35-year medical career, Dr. Halsey has witnessed firsthand the importance of putting the patient first, and now he is bringing his experience and expertise to TurningPoint as Chief Clinical Officer.
We recently sat down with Dr. Halsey to learn more about the path that led him to medicine, and ultimately, TurningPoint.
Did you always want to be a doctor?
At a very young age I decided I wanted to be a doctor and had no change of course. At age 14, I started working with the ski patrol where I went to high school; and then I became an emergency medical technician at the age 15. At one point, I was the youngest EMT in the country. That grew into an interest in public safety, so I became a firefighter paramedic and lifeguard. From there, when I was finishing at Middlebury College, I applied to medical school, then it was off to the races!
Was there an “aha” moment when you knew that you wanted to pursue the medical field?
I didn’t have many healthcare role models as a kid but there was one amazing professor, Bob, who was involved in the ski patrol and became a close mentor. I recall one instance where there was a really bad injury and Bob remained very calm while he managed not only the safety of the team, but also the patient and their family, and he did it with such poise. This experience taught me that being a healthcare provider was a very multidimensional career.
I thought for sure I was going to be a trauma surgeon. That was until medical school when I did a rotation at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland. While there, noticed the doctors in orthopedics all seemed to really enjoy their work—they were managing patients and families, and dealing with a variety of cases, from pediatric injuries to deformity of the spine, and at that moment it hit me—that’s the kind of doctor I want to be.
Can you tell us about some of the roles you had prior to joining TurningPoint?
After medical school, I started my medical professional association leadership career in Vermont, then moved to the regional orthopedic level, and ultimately the national level becoming the President of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the world’s largest medical association of musculoskeletal specialists.
What has been beneficial in my career is following a simple process: finding mentors, getting formal leadership training, and then staying engaged in a part of healthcare that isn’t as popular among doctors: organized medicine.
I’m also a pilot and teach aviation to high school students on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s an extremely rewarding experience, I sponsor kids and get them out to the airport. To keep your pilot license, you have to stay active by performing frequent adverse event drills and using risk management skills to problem solve. I’ve found a lot of parallels with flying and surgery. For me, flying is the closest thing to being in an operating room, dealing with a difficult case. There are a lot of moving parts when flying over the mountains in New England at night during a weather episode—you really need to be laser-focused. It actually taught me a lot of things about leadership: assemble the data, get the right team, plan ahead, and be able to navigate stressful situations.
Why did you decide to join TurningPoint Healthcare Solutions?
The people, entirely the people. A mentor and friend explained to me that he thought TurningPoint may have the three pieces that not many healthcare companies have—data, funds, and passionate people who want to do the work. Healthcare companies usually have one or two of these, but very few of them have all three. I originally started part-time with TurningPoint and then went to full time in January 2022.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, I’m a 5:00 a.m. club member, so I start my day early with twenty minutes of sweat, twenty minutes of thinking, and twenty minutes of mindfulness. When I get to work, I have three main goals: quality care delivery, recruitment, and growth. Everything we do at TurningPoint strives to ensure that high quality, safe, cost effective care is delivered to the members we serve while minimizing the burden for the physicians providing evidence-based care.
For recruiting, I’m searching for doctors, physician assistants, and physical therapists to join the new TurningPoint Telehealth program, and to continue to grow the utilization management side of the business. The key to our growth will always be the people we work alongside. We’re building on where TurningPoint started seven years ago. Today we are four hundred strong, with plans to expand even further in a year or two.
As you reflect on your tenure at TurningPoint thus far, is there one accomplishment that stands out to you? Or is there something coming up that you’re excited about?
Overall, I’m really proud of our ability to recruit doctors, PAs, and physical therapists to TurningPoint—they’re really impressed with what we’re doing and it’s rewarding to see. In the near future, I’m really looking forward to the expansion of our new Digital Joint and Spine program, which is currently in its pilot stage. We’ll be able to provide members with a trusted support team and the best available information in real-time, instead of waiting several weeks to see a specialist and leaving them overwhelmed without a solution.
How can TurningPoint’s services benefit providers?
TurningPoint will facilitate the life of the healthplan network provider by providing them with the tools for success: giving them a robust, accurate, patient story at the point-of-care. As a provider working with TurningPoint, I can get to my office, have a list of my patients, and know which ones came through the TurningPoint referral network. Right away, there’s a 90% chance these patients actually need my help. A currect typical scenario is if you’re a specialist, like a surgeon, you can look at your patient list and know that nine out of ten patients who come in don’t want what you have to offer. We’re only sending the right patients to them—the ones they are actually trained to treat, which will result in a better patient experience.
Thinking about the future of healthcare, which trends are you seeing that you’re most excited about?
I’m most excited about bringing clinical expertise to the patient, wherever they are. COVID has been impactful in many ways; one positive is the advancement of technology for delivering healthcare. Patients are better at utilizing technology when it’s convenient for them, and doctors are getting more comfortable with it, too. Also, it provides access to world-renowned clinicians that patients may have not been able to see before COVID. I’m most excited about bringing the provider to the patient longitudinally, as part of their team, rather than just for a high-cost, one-time occurrence.
How do you think you contribute to TurningPoint’s mission?
I contribute by aligning our really talented internal staff with our Scientific Advisory Board, physician medical director/peer reviewers, and now telehealth professionals. You need a clinician leader to bring all of that together and that’s really my role to help facilitate cost-effective, safe, high-quality care.
TurningPoint prides itself on improving the quality, safety, and affordability of healthcare. What does that mean to you?
Most tech and healthcare companies just want patient data so they can be smarter, but TurningPoint is actually trying to make healthcare better. And not just with a simple, ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but ‘yes, you should have that procedure, but only once you have gone through all this pre-op assessment so that you’re ready to do it safely, and you have the support afterwards to succeed.’
To learn more about joining the TurningPoint team, visit our Careers page.