In a screen grab from its website, Montage Health launched its Center for Physician Excellence, a new program Montage Health supports physicians that it says will provide better health care for Monterey County patients. (Montez Health)

MONTEREY – Montage Health has launched a program aimed at cultivating and sustaining a thriving local medical community. It is funded by a grant and a philanthropic gift.

The Center for Physician Excellence was created to support professional development, personal wellness and community connections for the approximately 500 local physicians affiliated with Montage Health.

“The Center for Physician Excellence is a program that provides a variety of resources, support and assistance to physicians,” said Monica Sciuto, spokeswoman for Montez Health.

Although the center is not an actual office where doctors can go for services, it provides access to many that doctors find helpful.

“When our doctors are supported, connected and engaged, they are better equipped to provide excellent healthcare to patients,” said Melissa Rosenthal, director of Montage Health’s Center for Physician Excellence, in a press release. “Our mission is to offer well-rounded, comprehensive services to support our medical staff, enabling them to provide excellent healthcare to our patients and community.”

Support is provided through multiple programs overseen by the Center for Physician Excellence.

“Physicians hear about what programs are offered through regular physician communications, events, a dedicated physician support web page, and through communication with the program director,” Sciuto said.

The Center for Physician Excellence is described as a physician-driven effort, meaning its programs, initiatives and operations are organized by physicians for physicians with the goal of cultivating and sustaining a thriving local community, according to Montage Health.

The program provides continuing education for physicians, professional development opportunities for clinical advancement and physician skill enhancement, wellness services, physician grant programs to enhance skill and advancement in their field, improvement initiatives supporting clinical skills, student loan assistance, and financial health programs including financial planning, peer, family, and Volunteer opportunities to give back to social events in the local community and beyond to connect doctors with the community.

Sciuto said there is no cost to physicians to take advantage of most of the programs.

“We value our physicians’ work and dedication to the health of our communities, and know they are vital to everything we do today and into the future,” said Dr. Steven Packer, President/CEO of Montage Health.

The Center for Physician Excellence is made possible through grant support from the Montage Health Foundation and the Lucas Fund for Physician Excellence.

The Montage Health Foundation supports the work of Montage Health through grantmaking, volunteerism, and philanthropic partnerships with community members and like-minded organizations.

The Lucas Fund was created through a $5 million gift to the Montage Health Foundation by local philanthropist Sally Lucas and is bolstered by ongoing gifts from the community.

“Recruiting and retaining the best doctors is critical to supporting the health and vitality of our communities,” said Kevin Causey, vice president and chief development officer of the Montage Health Foundation, on the center’s web page. “Montage Health Foundation is proud to support this important work and we are grateful for the generous support of community partners like Sally Lucas and the Lucas Fund for Physician Excellence.”

Like many communities across the country, Monterey County faces a shortage of doctors, along with barriers to recruitment, including the cost of housing and the high cost of living, Montage Health says.

“My late husband Don and I feel blessed to have Community Hospital and their doctors available to us,” Lucas said in the statement. “My desire is to ensure this continues into the future, and I hope this grant will help encourage brilliant doctors to come, live and practice in this special community.”

Montage Health is the not-for-profit parent company of a family of health organizations including Monterey Peninsula Community Hospital, Montage Medical Group, Montage Health Foundation, Montage Wellness Center, Aspire Health and MoGo Urgent Care.

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