As you’ve read in this blog, UMass Memorial Health Care is working through some very challenging financial issues. While we have made some progress in reducing our expenses, improving quality, and executing our long-term strategic plan, additional actions must be taken to ensure that we achieve our financial goal of reducing our operating loss in fiscal year 2014 and eliminating it in 2015.
Worcester’s Telegram & Gazette newspaper recently focused on our challenges and our response to them in this article. (Subscription may be required).
UMass Memorial Health Care plays a very unique role in this region. In addition to serving as the safety net hospital for the most critically ill and injured patients in the region, we also serve as the primary teaching and clinical research site for the state’s only public medical school. We provide local resources to the towns surrounding Worcester through our community hospitals and community-based practices and couple them with a world-class medical center, medical school and physician group.
Our non-profit status drives our mission of providing the highest quality care to all in need, regardless of their ability to pay, while still providing cutting-edge treatments through trials and research not available elsewhere in the region.
No one else in Massachusetts serves all of these missions and has all of the financial obligations associated with them, which is a part of the reason the changes that are occurring in Massachusetts health care have been so challenging for us.
For years the Medical Center has tried to be all things to all people regardless of the cost. As much as we would like to continue being the one source for all health care needs, we need to face the realities of today’s health care landscape and re-evaluate what it means to provide the right care at the right time and at the right place.
Our Medical Center is well situated to provide higher-acuity care to the sickest of patients, while our community hospitals and community medical practices focus on delivering high quality, less-acute care, closer to home, in a lower-cost setting. To succeed as an accountable care organization we will need to move lower-acuity services out of the Medical Center and into the community where they can be delivered with equal quality at a lower cost. This means we will be shrinking our physical footprint at the Medical Center over time and reorganizing the space in which we provide care.
As our largest entity, UMass Memorial Medical Center will be at the center of the financial recovery plan. Medical Center President Patrick Muldoon is leading the charge on changes that will specifically affect the Medical Center and its caregivers. Patrick is distributing this memo to all Medical Center staff, which details these changes, some taking place immediately and some that will take place over time. I support Patrick’s efforts and commend him for his leadership through this difficult time. In addition, our four community hospitals and our Medical Group are developing their own plans to deliver greater value to our patients and our communities by improving quality and bringing down costs.
I am confident that the sooner we put these challenges behind us by making very tough decisions, the sooner we will become the best place for you to give care and for our patients to receive care.
Moving programs and reorganizing where we deliver care won’t be enough for us to realize our full potential. You, our everyday innovators, are the key to that. During the last year, I have asked you for help in making this a better place for our patients and for all of us who work here and you have responded with thousands of ideas that we are working to implement. For this, I am truly grateful. I have asked my physician colleagues to focus intently on improving our patient access, patient flow as measured by boarder hours, and care standardization and you have responded famously. Working together, we will get through these tough times and become an organization propelled by the ideas of our frontline staff and led by a management team that understands it is our job to serve the people that serve the patients.
Thanks to everyone for taking great care of our patients and one another every day,