In the CEO role, I tend to numerous activities and events on a daily basis. As many of you know from our recent Management Forum and the Employee Forum presentations, University Hospital is in the midst of a fiscal budgetary struggle. With the help of an excellent senior management team, and the suggestions of many employees, we are working through many, many issues. I am certain, as I have said in the forums, that we will emerge stronger as a hospital, and university.
The reality of not only our fiscal troubles, but those of the hospital industry and healthcare industry as a whole, was driven home again by two events this week. First, I received yet another letter from a north country hospital, in financial distress, looking for a partner. This is again symptomatic of the struggles hospitals, big and small, will have in the region as we all try to approach healthcare delivery and the funding of healthcare in a different way. Secondly, there was news this week that our neighbor, Crouse Hospital, had laid off a number of its employees due to fiscal concerns. The realities of ours and others financial woes, again reminds us that as a institution we must work smarter, we must figure out a way to provide better care at a lower cost, and we must begin to think of a healthcare delivery system that exists outside the walls of a traditional hospital.
Yesterday, I attended Dr. Smith’s State of the University address. He remarked a number of times about the importance of relevance to Upstate Medical University, and its hospital in the Central New York region. We were reminded by him of the central role we play for the training of health professionals, the provision of medical care, and the advancement of medical science in a broad region, not only of Central New York and the State of New York, but more globally. He reminded us that for the University as a whole to remain relevant, the hospital must remain strong. He also challenged both those in the audience, the campus as a whole, and our sponsors (SUNY and the State of New York) to find new ways of organizing ourselves and doing business to ensure our long history of relevance remains intact.
Finally, last evening I had the pleasure of attending the 26th Annual Upstate University Hospital Nursing Excellence Celebration. This event gives me the opportunity to remember, despite my daily activities around finances, spreadsheets, and deficits, about our noble mission as a medical university. It became crystal clear that nurses are at the core of what we do: providing the best quality care by quality caregivers. The celebration, “Nurses Making a Difference”, was certainly an appropriate tagline for anyone to understand the central and important role of nurses in healthcare, and for every patient who has been cared for by outstanding staff at University Hospital. It was an important moment to stop, recognize these efforts, and to thank our nursing staff for their continued excellence in the face of many challenges around them. Without their continued attention and support, our goal to keep University Hospital as a strong and relevant part of the Upstate Medical University, would be the impossible. Congratulations not only to last night’s award winners, but to all of our excellent nursing staff.