December 1, 2006

Program growth, recognition drive VUMC’s future: Jacobson

Featured Image

Harry Jacobson, M.D., speaks at the Fall Faculty Meeting.
Photo by Susan Urmy

Program growth, recognition drive VUMC’s future: Jacobson

Magnet Recognition for nursing quality and a growing cardiovascular program are among the institutional bright spots touched upon by Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Harry Jacobson, M.D., at the recent Fall Faculty Meeting.

The event followed news earlier that day from the American Nurses Credentialing Center announcing Vanderbilt University Medical Center achieved Magnet status.

The crowd of faculty and administrators were still buzzing with excitement as they later took their seats in 208 Light Hall.

“It is the highest recognition you can achieve for the quality of your nursing,” Jacobson said. “Only 4 percent of the hospitals in the country are so designated and we are the only hospital in Middle Tennessee with that designation.”

Jacobson also featured the growing Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute (VHVI) as an area of focus for the future, noting that nine of the nation's top 10 medical centers also rank in the top 10 for their respective heart programs.

VHVI is projecting a substantial increase in inpatient discharges over the next several years, from 3,365 in 2006 to an estimated 7,234 by 2011, and has extensive plans to grow its facilities to accommodate need.

“The Heart and Vascular Institute is growing by leaps and bounds. Our heart surgery growth is about 100 percent a normal rate,” Jacobson said. “We will definitely become a regional heart institute.”

Jacobson used VUMC's five elevate pillars — people, service, quality, growth and finance — as an outline for his speech measuring the Medical Center's progress and highlighting patient, physician and resident satisfaction scores for 'Overall Quality of Care.'

A major goal in the area of employee satisfaction is to reach the Fortune 100 Best Employer list by 2007. Only two Tennessee companies made the 2006 list — FedEx (64) and First Horizon National (85), both of Memphis.

An annual survey of 1,900 Nashville-area households shows Vanderbilt is on its way. According to the survey, VUMC was deemed Middle Tennessee's 'Hospital of Choice,' with 19.7 percent of the vote.

“This is a direct result of the good efforts of a number of people, the recruitment of some outstanding clinicians and nurses and staff, the construction of world-class facilities and the culture that we have here,” Jacobson said.

VUMC has short-term goals to elevate its 'excellent' responses from patients and sustain 90th and 95th percentile, or improve five percentage points, for overall 'Quality of Care' and 'Likelihood to Recommend,' respectively.

The Medical Center achieved its 'Quality of Care' goal in all areas except Adult Inpatient and Vanderbilt Clinic visits. Outpatient Surgery ranks among the highest in the country at 99.5 percent.

Outpatient Surgery leads the nation at 100 percentile for 'Likelihood to Recommend;' the VCH Emergency Department is at 99.4 percentile,;Outpatient Technical at 98.1; percentile and VCH Inpatient reaching its goal with 95.3 percentile.

In the area of Growth, VUMC has 2007 goals to meet or exceed projections for inpatient admissions, outpatient visits and surgical operations. Research awards and high-volume referrers are hoped to increase by 5 percent.

School of Medicine research award growth is increasing faster than any other program in the country, with $334 million received for fiscal year 2006.

Hospital and clinic patient discharges are up 43.7 percent since 1998 and Emergency Department visits have increased 81.3 percent.

Clinic visits are up 90.3 percent since 1998, surpassing the 1 million mark for the first time in VUMC history, and total surgeries for VUH and the clinic increased by 74.5 percent.

Patient volume and equivalent patient days have an 11 percent annual growth rate while local competitors are staying still or shrinking.

From a facilities perspective, the VUH Critical Care Tower Phase II begins construction in January for a nine-story addition that includes five ICU inpatient floors (141 beds) and 12 operating rooms.

Vanderbilt's portion of uncompensated care was $98.7 million last year, representing 46.6 percent of the total for Davidson County health care providers.

“We clearly feel that we are within the top hospitals in the country with respect to uncompensated care,” Jacobson said.