ECG Consulants update

September 27, 2012

Steven Stites
Steven Stites Acting Executive Vice Chancellor, Acting Dean, KU School of Medicine

If you've been a regular follower of these newsletters, you know that I've now written a couple of times (here and here) about the work being done on our campus by ECG Management Consultants. The company, which has extensive experience in the health care industry, has spent more than a year working with our clinical departments on ways KUMC can better integrate our clinical efforts. Over the summer I asked them to work on a separate project that would provide us with a detailed analysis of our extraordinarily complex funds flow across all of our schools and missions. I wanted ECG to benchmark our financial status and processes against national standards at other academic medical centers.

We know that we are providing enormous return on investment for the citizens of Kansas, who fund a significant portion of our operations; for students, who pay tuition to receive a world-class education; for the federal government, which invests in our research and the training of our residents; and for our friends in the philanthropic community, who express their faith in our work through generous donations. We work hard to leverage these investments - but in an era of challenging state budgets, increased competition for NIH funding and dramatic changes in the health care industry, it's more important than ever to demonstrate how we are providing ever-greater value for the state of Kansas.

I have promised that, based on ECG's findings, we will think very strategically about how to streamline our financial and organizational structures so that we can be agile and adaptive in this dynamic landscape. And we are now taking action.

Earlier this week, I announced a significant restructuring of our financial operations. Kim Meyer has stepped down as the School of Medicine's senior associate dean for finance, but will continue to serve the University of Kansas Medical Center as a consultant. I am grateful for her leadership, which helped bring strong fiscal principles to our School of Medicine budget process. Hinano DeBarthe, formerly the School of Medicine's director of finance and administration, has taken over as the school's acting associate dean for finance.

Additionally, I have asked Clay Tellers, who knows our organization well as an ECG consultant, to begin developing the role of a Vice Chancellor for Finance (the title was incorrect in my broadcast email to the campus earlier this week; apologies to Mike Keeble, who remains solidly in the role of Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance). Reporting to the Executive Vice Chancellor, this person will oversee financial operations for the School of Medicine (all campuses), School of Nursing and School of Health Professions.

Until the Vice Chancellor for Finance is appointed, Clay will serve in the role of Interim KUMC Chief Financial Officer. He will review the roles, responsibilities and organizational structure for a medical-center-wide finance office to ensure that we are maximizing efficiencies. He will also review financial policies related to research, and will create standardized financial and operational metrics reporting through our Department of Enterprise Analytics.

In Wichita, we will appoint a chief operating officer who will report to the dean there and to the Vice Chancellor for Finance in Kansas City. Vinnie Sharma of ECG will serve as interim COO, working with Clay. Their initial focus will be on the clinical enterprise, while identifying areas for operational and financial performance improvement.

In the longer term, the Vice Chancellor for Finance will:

Create a shared administrative resource model for School of Medicine departments on the Kansas City campus

Improve our guidelines for allocation of resources

Improve our guidelines for compensating faculty for research and education

Implement an incentive policy for research in our departments, centers and institutes

Some of these changes will be welcome. But I know that others will be unpopular - especially those that represent a new and more demanding way of doing business. We must all remember that it's not our money - it belongs to the state of Kansas. The people of Kansas have made a profound investment in us. In return, we owe it to them and to ourselves to be one of the best publicly funded universities in the country. I know we are well on our way - but I also know that our best greatness is still ahead.

Joe Lutkenhaus, Ph.D., is one of three recipients of the 2012 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize awarded by Columbia University. Dr. Lutkenhaus and two colleagues from Stanford University and Harvard University, were recognized for their work on the three-dimensional organization of bacteria cells. Established in 1967, the Horwitz Prize is Columbia University's top honor for achievement in biological and biochemistry research. Read more here.
The 9th Annual Gilbert S. Greenwald Symposium on Reproduction will be held Oct. 11-12. This annual symposium is in memory of Dr. Gilbert S. Greenwald, a pioneer in reproductive biology research and founder of the reproductive biology research program at KUMC. The keynote speaker this year is R. Michael Roberts, Ph.D., Curator’s Professor, Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia. You can learn more about the symposium and register here.
The Department of Health Policy & Management is celebrating 30 years of educating health services administrators, leaders and researchers for Kansas and the nation. The department will hold two events next weekend in conjunction with KU Medical Center's Alumni Weekend. There will be a panel discussion on Integrating Care for Patients on Friday, Oct. 5, from 4 to 5 p.m., in G013 SON. Then later that evening, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., there will be a 30th anniversary celebration reception at the Beller Conference Center. Among those speaking will be Dr. Raymond Davis, the founding chair of the department. More information is available here.
Tracie Collins, M.D., MPH, chair and professor with the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the School of Medicine–Wichita, has been named president of the Midwest Region of the Society of General Internal Medicine. Dr. Collins will be responsible for oversight of society activities and will lead the planning for next year’s annual meeting.
Last modified: Oct 02, 2012