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Improvements strengthen VUMC’s core missions: Balser

Dec. 18, 2014, 9:37 AM

Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., speaks at Wednesday’s Clinical Enterprise Leadership Assembly in Langford Auditorium. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Last month’s announcement to restructure Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a “financially distinct” entity from Vanderbilt University will give the Medical Center more flexibility and allow it to access capital as it continues to build the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network, now close to 45 affiliated hospitals strong, and invest in programs and facilities on the main campus in ways that will positively impact clinical programs as well as the research and educational missions, Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said during Wednesday’s Winter 2014 Clinical Enterprise Leadership Assembly.

“We will remain highly integrated with Vanderbilt University for our academic programs as we continue building our national reputation for research and education,” he said.

Balser also updated those in attendance on the Medical Center’s year-to-date positive financial performance. “After two years of challenging financial circumstances as we adapt to the new health care economy, we are focusing on operations and on serving even more patients throughout the Southeast,” he said.

These were the first of several important messages he and C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., deputy vice chancellor for Health Affairs and CEO of the Vanderbilt Health System, delivered to Medical Center leaders during the assembly in Langford Auditorium.

Providing a summary about the status of the nation’s health care economy, Balser said large health care systems simply do better in difficult economic times. “The decision to create VUMC as a separate nonprofit entity allows us to grow and chart our own destiny,” he said.

The continued growth of the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network (VHAN) will enable the recruitment of thousands of additional patients for clinical trials. In education, Vanderbilt trainees will have an even greater opportunity to care for significant numbers of patients with rare diseases. “All of our missions are supported by this vision,” Balser said.

In his quarterly update of the five Pillar Goals, Pinson gave several examples of success through extensive, targeted quality and safety efforts throughout VUMC’s hospitals and clinics. “It’s the little things that matter,” he said.

C. Wright Pinson, MBA, M.D., delivers the Pillar update at Wednesday’s Clinical Enterprise Leadership Assembly. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Pinson went on to say that demand for VUMC’s services continues to be exceptionally strong. “We need to maintain this success by continuing to make it more convenient for our patients to access our services,” he said.

Pinson also spoke to VUMC’s success at cost containment. “We are on track financially but it will take hard work to maintain this positive position,” he said.

Continuing to improve communications throughout the Medical Center also remains a high priority. In October, more than 1,600 employees participated in town hall sessions with senior leaders. “Through these conversational sessions the voices of our faculty and staff were heard,” Pinson said.

In the area of compensation and benefits, market-based salary adjustments have been made among several groups, including registered nurses, Pinson said. Since September, 250 new registered nurses have been hired while recruiting efforts continue to be intensified.

Balser and Pinson both spoke of another area of progress, developed in response to comments about “strategy” in the employee survey last year. Through an inclusive process that engaged hundreds of people representing broad areas of the Medical Center, new “statements” were developed to better articulate the aspirations and strategic priorities for VUMC.

Mission Statement

Utilizing the enormous strength and capacity of our people, VUMC’s mission is to lead through innovation and delivery of exemplary health care to improve the lives of individuals and communities regionally, nationally and internationally. We combine transformative and interwoven educational opportunities, scientific discovery and personalized care to achieve this goal.

Strategic Commitments

We will possess a sense of community and are fully committed to supporting each other, our patients and their families.

We will deliver the highest quality and safest health care in a seamless manner that always places our patients and their families first.

We will personalize the care of every patient, fully leveraging our knowledge, values and strength in science and technology.

We will enhance the capabilities of our people, helping each of us realize our goals and potential.

We will advance the knowledge of human health through discovery, learning and innovation.

We will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of everything we do to achieve greater value for those we serve.

We will provide prompt and continuous access for our patients and colleagues throughout VUMC and its affiliated network.

Pinson introduced Kimberly Pace, professor in the Practice of Management at the Owen Graduate School of Management, who discussed how managers can better communicate organizational goals and priorities to their employees.

All of this feedback is helping the Medical Center “shape the work in critically important ways,” Pinson said. “Each and every person here adds value and contributes to our success. Together we will be unstoppable.”

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