Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pescovitz outlines how UMHS’ strength will fuel
future growth

The U-M Health System is strong across the board, and ready to embark on the next phase of a strategic effort to grow and extend its expertise and reach across Michigan in new ways. That was the message from Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, executive vice president for medical affairs and chief executive office of UMHS, in her first State of the Health System address last week.

Among the strengths she cited:

• Top-tier national rankings for both adult and children’s care, and medical education, from U.S. News & World Report, including many specialty rankings.

• The fifth-highest overall patient rating of care (HCAHPS) scores among all U.S. News Honor Roll hospitals — and the highest overall rating of any hospital in Michigan with more than 400 beds.

• Steady and measurable favorable changes in many patient-safety measures, from infections and medical liability costs to overall mortality and delivery of evidence-based preventive care.

• The largest medical residency program in Michigan, and a very successful graduate and postdoctoral fellowship program.

• $446 million in research expenditures, a sizable portion of the university’s total of $1.1 billion, and the nation’s eighth-highest medical school funding total from the National Institutes of Health.

At a time when many health care and research institutions are struggling, Pescovitz noted that UMHS is financially strong, with 8 percent growth in revenues from fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2010 and a strong bond rating that keeps borrowing costs low. Giving to UMHS continues to be strong, with $72 million in gifts in the last year despite the economic downturn.

She also tipped her hat to the state of planning and activity at the North Campus Research Complex. For more on that progress, see this summary of a recent talk by NCRC Executive Director David Canter.

But she noted that challenges lie before UMHS, including the struggling Michigan economy’s impact on patients’ ability to pay for care; the increasing competition for patients among doctors, hospitals and health systems in the state; the consolidation of control of health care facilities and physician groups; the changing Michigan population; and the implications of the new health care reform law, which calls for better use of information technology, more accountability and cost containment from health care providers.

Despite these challenges, Pescovitz said, UMHS is well positioned for success. Its existing strengths, and already broad statewide and global reach, will be the foundation for further statewide and global growth, and strategic investment in coming months and years.

The compass that will guide these efforts, she said, comes from the systemwide strategic planning process that is now entering a new phase.

From that effort, five strategic themes emerged:

• Grow and expand UMHS’ geographic presence.

• Advance discovery and high-impact/novel science through innovation and collaboration.

• Create the ideal patient care experience.

• Create a continuous learning organization to attract, develop and support the best students, faculty and staff.

• Advance core UMHS capabilities and processes.

The details of what these five themes will mean, and how they will be implemented, will be rolled out to UMHS faculty, staff and students in coming months.