August 24, 2007

Jacobson outlines VUMC’s goals, performance at meet

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Harry Jacobson, M.D., talked about VUMC’s recent performance and future challenges at last week’s Leadership Breakfast Club meeting. (photo by Neil Brake)

Jacobson outlines VUMC’s goals, performance at meet

Vanderbilt University Medical Center is thriving financially, despite challenges from TennCare disenrollment and a difficult research funding environment, Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs, told the Leadership Breakfast Club last Friday.

“We've just finished a remarkable year for the Medical Center,” Jacobson told the by-invitation group of VUMC personnel.

“Financially we had the best year we've ever had, by far. We have a more than $80 million bottom line, and we will invest every penny of that.”

In his few minutes of informal remarks, Jacobson also updated the group on the success of focused growth, specifically in the areas of cardiovascular and cancer care. Since Tennesseans have an above-average incidence of both heart disease and cancer, Jacobson said, it was Vanderbilt's mission not only to grow those areas clinically, but also to use that leadership to reverse the state's poor health statistics.

Noting that the growth of such programs helps the Medical Center as a whole, he said, “Success in focused growth is success for all.”

Other areas of growth Jacobson touched on were plans for a second Medical Center campus at the site of 100 Oaks Mall, which should see some clinics in place in about a year, and the development of plans for a fifth Medical Research Building, to be located along the Garland Avenue side of Medical Center North and replacing the “fingers” of the B, C and D corridors that reach from the south side of the building, which was constructed in 1925.

Questions from the group covered a range of topics, including:

• Transportation and parking issues, including the spacing of parking lines in the shuttle lots, the possibility of incentives or funding for staff members to take the Music City Star train service to work, and road maintenance around the Medical Center campus.

• Research issues, including better coordination between Medical Center and University offices and the role of Veterans' Administration researchers in Vanderbilt's future plans.

• The use of electronic records and the preparation of nurses and physicians for more changes in medical record-keeping.

• The future of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, to which Jacobson said that he and Wayne Riley, M.D., president of Meharry, had scheduled a retreat this fall to address both the Alliance and some of the ongoing funding problems experienced by Meharry Medical College. “I believe there's a solution out there, we just need to find it,” he said.

The Leadership Breakfast Club meetings are scheduled for every other month and are designed to provide an informal setting for information sharing and conversation among several levels of management and leadership.

The meetings are hosted by the VUMC’s Office of News and Public Affairs.