October 10, 2003

VUMC continues to excel nationally, research and patient care on rise

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Vice Chancellor Dr. Harry R. Jacobson told the capacity crowd attending the Fall Faculty Meeting Tuesday that Vanderbilt was “on a roll.” Anne Rayner

VUMC continues to excel nationally, research and patient care on rise

In his yearly progress report on the achievements of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Vice Chancellor Dr. Harry R. Jacobson told the capacity crowd attending the Fall Faculty Meeting Tuesday that Vanderbilt is “on a roll.”

As in recent years, VUMC continues to increase its funding for research and patient care income as well as steadily gaining in national recognition, Jacobson said.

Charting progress since the academic and strategic plan was implemented in 1998, Jacobson noted that the hospital and clinic have more than 116 percent increase in the capital available — some $32.8 million in fiscal year 2003, compared to $15.2 million in 1998.

“The momentum, I hope, is going to continue to move in that direction,” he said.

Patient admissions rose from 31,852 in FY 2002 to 33,840 in FY 2003 (5.87 percent). Emergency visits increased from 70,048 to 71,402 (1.93 percent). Clinic visits also marked an increase from 2002 to 2003: up from 676,909 to 698,960 (3.25 percent).

The search for the new Vanderbilt Medical Group Chief Medical Officer hasn’t been formally initiated, but Jacobson expects to identify the successful candidate within the next month. As part of the new role, Jacobson envisions a physician who can function in the role to link clinical work with operational experience.

“We believe we have the talent on campus to [fulfill this position],” he said.

National recognition has also continued to improve. Again, the hospital was one of 17 hospitals named to the “honor roll” of U.S. News and World Report’s best hospitals for 2003. This is the second time in the magazine’s history of the survey that the hospital and the clinic scored in the top tier.

Forty-six Vanderbilt doctors — of the 67 doctors listed in Tennessee — were listed as America’s Top Doctors.

Jacobson described several key long-term and short-term improvement initiatives. In the next three to six months, VUMC will work to optimize DRG coding, reduce variability on tests, prescriptions, etc., improve efficency in the Emergency Department and earlier discharge times, among other goals. In the next year, optimizing use of hospital capacity, improving efficiency in the operating rooms and optimizing use of clinic capacity will be explored.

As for the progress of the construction projects, the $270 million project to build the new Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt is coming to an end, with anticipated move-in dates between mid-December and mid-January 2004.

It is anticipated that the construction of Medical Research Building IV will begin phase one this winter. The first phase of the building will be built above Light Hall, with plans to build additional space above Langford Auditorium by the end of 2006.

“I am excited about it,” said Jacobson.

Fundraising for the Medical Center continues to be strong, at $44.7 million in total cash gifts and pledges for FY 2003. Philanthropy was at $49,941,103 in FY 2003, with more than $9 million being raised this fiscal year so far.

Recent notable gifts include: $3 million dollars for the Vanderbilt-Eskin Comprehensive Diabetes Care Center; $1 million for five years from Caterpillar Inc., $1 million from a Medical School alumnus, and $1 million for both the Dr. Truxton Jackson Bequest and the Endowed Chair Challenge, in addition to several other generous gifts.

Jacobson said despite the past bear market, VUMC was ahead of schedule on the growth of the research enterprise performance — which, in order to achieve 250 percent growth by 2008 required a 15 percent increase each year. In FY 2003 (the five year mark), VUMC has achieved more than half at $257 million.

“It has been a challenging environment,” Jacobson said. “Everyone feels poor when the stock market goes down.”

For National Institutes of Health funding, Vanderbilt is one of the fastest growing programs, receiving 20.5 percent the institutes total funding — second only to Baylor University.