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Phillip Hylton, M.D., retires after distinguished 40-year career

Phillip Hylton, M.D., retires after distinguished 40-year career in neurosurgery

Image of Phillip Hylton, M.D.
Phillip Hylton, M.D.

Being an effective neurosurgeon goes well beyond successfully diagnosing and treating patients with diseases of the nervous system. There's also a bottom-line business aspect to the work. After four decades in the field, Phillip Hylton, M.D., knows this truth as well as anyone.

It's also a truth Hylton has been pointed in passing along to residents as part of his role as an assistant professor and vice chair of clinical affairs in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

That dedication to educating and mentoring aspiring neurosurgeons is just one hallmark in a sterling legacy Hylton has left behind with his retirement on May 1.

"Dr. Hylton has had an immeasurable impact in our distinguished field of neurosurgery. We cannot thank him enough for his contributions in leadership and administration, education for residents, nursing staff and medical students, quality improvement leadership and initiatives, and of course, excellent clinical care for our patients," said Paul J. Camarata, M.D., chair of the department.

"Phil brought his unique wisdom from years of experience in private practice to our residents and young faculty, and his calm, collected leadership to a number of medical staff committee appointments in the medical center. He has had an unwavering dedication to neurosurgery for the past 40 years and we wish him the absolute very best in his retirement. He will be greatly missed."

Lasting contributions

One of Hylton's signature contributions is the "Life Beyond Residency" lecture series, which evolved into a quarterly staple in the seven-year residency training program after he began lecturing on topics residents needed to know as they moved into practice. This unique addition to the department's educational offerings covers topics such as professional-service contracting, billing and collections, productivity values and uses, employment agreements, insurance agreements, credentialing and mock medico-legal depositions.

Thanks to Hylton's initiative, KU Medical Center was one of the first programs in the country with such a dedicated didactic curriculum.

"Many times, residents finish their training and have spent their whole careers learning and perfecting their surgical skills. But, there's a business side to physician practice that all providers should know. The "Life Beyond Residency" series provides that knowledge, and Dr. Hylton was instrumental in bringing that aspect into our resident education program," said Trish Miller, senior administrator for the department. "The educational series is a broad, overall preparation for anything they may encounter in their careers, and the topics covered in the series are ones that many medical professionals enter the practice setting without any prior working knowledge."

Hylton also helped launch an organized effort for the department's residents to engage in Quality Improvement Projects long before it became part of national educational requirements.

Beyond the department, Hylton made lasting contributions to the broader KU Medical Center community by serving on countless committees and project groups such as the Microvascular Lab Development Project for Resident Education. In addition, he was active nationally with the National Board of Medical Examiners, Parts 1, 2 and 3.

A great mentor

Before joining KU Medical Center in 2010, Hylton spent time in private practice and served as an assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of Kentucky as well as neurosurgery division chief at Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Locally, he was part of the neuroscience department at St. Luke's Hospital from 1999 to 2010, and he served as a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Surgery/Neurosurgery at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

"Dr. Hylton is the class of surgeon and mentor any academic institution would be very fortunate to have, and I am very grateful I have been able to learn from him over the past seven years," said Domenico Gattozzi, M.D., co-chief resident, who noted that Hylton's practice encompassed both cranial and spinal aspects of neurosurgery, and his ability to manage call, a clinic and a caseload in both realms should serve as an example to all neurosurgeons in training.

"Our residency training is comprehensive, and we should seek the confidence to do the breadth of neurosurgery like Dr. Hylton. It is motivation for those seeking fellowship to not abandon other aspects of our surgical training, and truly own the concept of being a neurosurgeon as a whole," Gattozzi said. "Additionally, he would always dedicate additional time with the residents to offer additional training for our careers, such as with medical billing/coding, contract negotiations, financial planning and practice management. This department is indebted to him for all he has done for us."

Department of Neurosurgery

University of Kansas Medical Center
3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Mailstop 3021
Kansas City, KS 66160
Phone: 913-588-0356
Fax: 913-588-6061