Moving Forward


On Friday May 16, 2014, leaders from across the system came together to learn about our strategic plan and the current state of UMass Memorial Health Care.  Below is a transcript of my introductory comments and a video link to them which I hope you find informative.

Although I was specifically addressing our managers at Friday’s meeting, I want to make it clear that UMass Memorial Health Care’s success lies on the shoulders of each and every one of the 13,000 innovators who provide care for our patients – whether you are processing bills, casting a fracture, interviewing a job candidate, installing a central line, or keeping our facility spotless and efficient. You all are making a difference and I look forward to keeping you all updated on our progress.



Introductory Comments—

When we were last together just over seven months ago, we were about to close the books on the worst financial year in the history of UMass Memorial Health Care and because of that, all of us have had to work incredibly hard and do some very difficult things to get this great institution back on track and heading in the right direction. Thank you for your efforts these past seven months and I’m sorry you ever had to go through it.  I think it’s important to let you know right up front that your hard work and the sacrifices you’ve made are paying off. We are seeing improvements in our quality and service metrics, we are seeing improvements in staff engagement with our idea system and our wellness initiatives and because of that we are seeing improvements in our finances.

The most important questions for us to answer today are how do we keep from ever getting back to where we were seven months ago? How do we prevent ever having to resort to layoffs as our primary mechanism for managing expenses?  The answer is by executing on our strategic plan. Over the past year, through joint efforts with UMass Medical School and our Board of Trustees, we have developed a rock solid strategic plan that will allow us to be successful in the new healthcare paradigm.  If we execute it we will never have to go back to where we were seven months ago; if we don’t, we will be right back where we started.

We are going to spend today talking about our strategic plan and the execution of the key initiatives described in it, but first let me give you an overview.

There are three things we must do to be successful in the future – first and foremost is that we must be world-class when it comes to quality and service — we cannot accept mediocrity in the delivery of health care, as it is morally and ethically indefensible. We are ranked number five in the nation for primary care but nobody cares what our ranking is if they can’t pick up the phone and get an appointment with us. We need to provide world-class access to our services now and in the future.

Our Department of Emergency Medicine ranks number one in the nation for NIH research funding, but nobody cares how good our research program is when they’re sitting in the hallway of the emergency department waiting for an inpatient bed. We need to be world-class when it comes to patient flow.  Moving forward we need to deliver world-class care every time we encounter a patient.

Second, we need to change the relationship between management and the people who are doing the value added work here.  We need to listen more to our people, we need to develop them through daily coaching and we need to celebrate their achievements. We need to become the management team that is known for serving the people who serve our patients — nothing less than that is acceptable.

And third, we need to be the health system that raises its hand and says we will become jointly accountable with our communities for the cost and quality of health care in central Massachusetts. This is a special role that only UMass Memorial Health Care can play. That doesn’t mean we have to own every healthcare asset in the region,but we do have to be the system that integrates it all together for the benefitof our communities and our patients, this means that we are going to have to partner with the payers in a very different way moving forward, we need to turn our competition into our partners and we need to build an IT system that is dependable, user-friendly and capable of integrating all the data from across the region for clinical and academic purposes.

When we do these three things we will not only be the best academic health science system in New England will be the best academic health system anywhere.


Thanks for everything you do to take care of our patients and one another,


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