April 24, 2009

Meet reviews Children’s Hospital’s performance

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Kevin Churchwell, M.D., at last week’s town hall meeting. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Meet reviews Children’s Hospital’s performance

Kevin B. Churchwell, M.D., chief executive officer of the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, updated staff and faculty on the hospital's performance at last week's town hall meeting.

“This hospital has done tremendous work,” Churchwell said. “It has involved all of our people and has allowed us to really invest in you.”

Churchwell told the audience that Children's Hospital has weathered the economic storm due to the all-hands-on-deck efforts of the entire hospital staff.

He then introduced Jim Kasnick, director of Finance for Children's Hospital, who gave an overview of the fiscal year to date.

Kasnick said that discharges are up 2.4 percent and Children's Hospital occupancy rates have grown, peaking in February when the hospital was at a record 97.8 percent occupancy. Ambulatory visits have also grown 7.2 percent.

Kasnick said his office continues to watch the unemployment rate for future revenue impact.

“We've planned for this situation the best we can,” Kasnick said.

He estimated that 6,000 children in Middle Tennessee will qualify for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) under the new stimulus bill.

“These federal bills will support our mission very well,” he said.

David Bichell, M.D., chief of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, asked how Children's Hospital was performing compared to other hospitals in the area. Kasnick replied that many of the hospitals in the Tennessee Hospital Association have experienced some challenges, but Children's Hospital is in a very good position compared with other hospitals in the region.

Chris Lee, associate VMG director for Ambulatory Services, gave an update about the clinics and the Doctors' Office Tower.

Eight offsite specialty clinics located at Edward Curd Lane in Franklin opened in December and Pulmonary Medicine will open in the location in July.

University Pediatrics at Vanderbilt Health at One Hundred Oaks launched in February.
In October, Adolescent Medicine, Adolescent Referral, Pediatric Allergy/Immunology and Pediatric Asthma will open at the location.

In the coming weeks, construction is set to begin to build out the shell on the seventh floor of the Doctors' Office Tower for Pediatric Otolaryngology and Audiology and Speech Pathology support clinics.

Mary Kate Mouser, interim chief community services officer and director of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital Improvement and Prevention, gave a report on recent and ongoing advocacy efforts for Children's Hospital.

She listed the three top advocacy priorities for Children's Hospital as child passenger safety, literacy and pediatric obesity.

Pat Givens, R.N., chief nursing officer, recognized the winners of the Professional Research Consultant Patient Service Awards for Children's Hospital.

Churchwell closed the meeting by recognizing the service of Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

“We have a debt to pay to Dr. Jacobson. Without his leadership, we would not have this building. To have that vision is really something special and we all should feel a debt of gratitude to him for his leadership.”