March 11, 2005

Elevate: Answering the Tough Questions

Featured Image

Medical Center leadership answers the tough questions about what the elevate program is and what it means for the people who work at VUMC.

QUESTION — Why are we building multi-million-dollar research facilities when the hospital and clinic are in desperate need of maintenance and repair?

ANSWER — As an academic medical center, advancing the understanding of human health is our most vital role. VUMC is indeed privileged to be among the pacesetters for biomedical discovery, and as an institution we remain committed to invest all available funds in the pursuit of new knowledge. However, investment in research should never come at the expense of patient care, and it should not delay the refurbishment of our hospitals and clinics.

We use a capital budgeting process that starts from VUMC strategic goals and proceeds to determinations about when and where to refurbish our physical plant. Over the past five years we've spent $32.9 million to renovate and refurbish existing patient care facilities.

Despite this level of expenditure, it is becoming increasingly clear to us all that there are areas of the hospital and clinic that have gone too long without new paint, carpet and furnishings. In some cases, these delays are due not to slow capital allocation, but to difficulties in shutting down hospital areas for refurbishment when every bed is occupied and more and more patients and referring physicians are calling on our services. Also, we are in the midst of moving into new clinic buildings and in some cases renovation of outpatient areas cannot begin until more of these clinic moves are accomplished.

We thank staff and faculty for their concern and patience; we know that refurbishment is overdue in some hospital and clinic areas and we are working together to find solutions to these delays.

— Harry R. Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs