September 30 marked the close of UMass Memorial Health Care’s fiscal year 2013. As I’ve mentioned previously, it was a tough year for hospitals and health care systems across the country, including here at UMass Memorial. For the first time in eight years, UMMHC will be posting an operating loss (~$57 million).
The sale of our clinical and anatomic outreach lab business and home health and hospice and strong performance in the stock market during fiscal year 2013 allowed us to turn an overall profit in 2013 because of the income associated with those things. These items aside, we absolutely have to improve our core operations in order to have a sustainable business model because we cannot depend on the stock market to gain 20% in a year.
In 2014 we will focus intensely on becoming more efficient and making programmatic changes that will allow us to be successful moving forward. Working together, focusing intensely on getting new patients into our clinics (access and referral management), moving patients through the system efficiently (flow) documenting the work we do and getting paid for it (revenue cycle) and being thoughtful about the supplies, medications and implants we use (supply chain) will save jobs and get us back on track in 2014.
I am depending on all 13,000 of you to help us right the ship and thank you in advance for your help.
Finances are important, but not as important as the quality of care we deliver and the experience our patients and our caregivers have when they are with us. I monitor quality, patient experience and employee experience data monthly and there is a lot to be proud of.
Our mortality rates for high acuity services like heart surgery and liver transplants are still very low (that means that our procedures were successful and very few people died as a result of their condition), and a few of our hospitals and clinics like Clinton, Wing, the cancer center and radiation oncology have outstanding patient satisfaction scores. We also have opportunities for improvement. Our patient satisfaction scores and number of Emergency Department boarders (admitted patients stuck in the ER) at Marlborough hospital and the Medical Center must be improved.
A couple of weeks ago, I shared a brief video about how we need to focus on these areas, based on a presentation I gave to our system leaders. In case you missed it, I’m posting it here again:
We all play an important role in how we transform as an organization, and I’m looking to all of you as our army of everyday innovators, to continue providing ideas on how we can become a stronger, more focused organization. I’ve been highlighting some of your ideas in this blog, and my goal is to have so many of your ideas to post that I’ll have a backlog of content for years to come.
In the coming weeks and months we will be making some very difficult decisions and changes throughout our organization. It will be painful at times, but I want you all to keep your eyes on the prize at the end of this transition.
Its going to take the strength and input of everyone everyday…. and its also going to take an investment in you, the people who bring UMass Memorial Health Care to life.
This new symbol, developed with the input of a number of employees from across the organization, represents this new focus – everyone everyday focused on providing the best possible care to our patients and to each other… this is the main goal – our “true north.”
How do we get there, especially in these tough financial times? By investing in our people – the people who care for patients at the bedside, who answer their phone calls and clean their rooms, the people who cook their meals and keep them safe and well informed, and the people who help the rest of us do our jobs so well.
Over the next couple of weeks you’ll see details of how we are doing this – by investing in keeping our employees healthy with a new wellness program, and by finding other ways to keep you all rewarded for your efforts.
No one said that this will be easy. It will be hard work, but we will get through this as a stronger health system in the end.
I’d like you to take a look at this video which was brought to my attention by Steve Guerin, the director of food and nutrition at HealthAlliance Hospital. Think about how our immediate work at UMass Memorial Health Care relates to some of the things this amazing young man has to say…and let’s take his advice and find that reason to dance!