May 30, 2014
Wednesday was the first of my scheduled EVC town hall meetings for this year. When we announced this meeting, we knew that 5 p.m. was not a convenient time for many of you. But in an environment as complex as KU Medical Center, we need to have meetings at different times of the day to reach different audiences. We'll hold future meetings at various times, so please stay tuned for those announcements. With this particular town hall, we wanted to address a topic everyone needs to begin to understand - but one that most directly and immediately affects our Kansas City campus and its hundreds of clinical faculty and staff, so we scheduled it at a time that worked best for clinicians.
Many of you have heard your colleagues talking about "clinical integration." This project has come to the point where we all need to understand what that means, so I turned over the podium to Steve Stites, our vice chancellor for clinical affairs, to explain it to us.
As we said when we announced the effort in January 2013, KU Medical Center, The University of Kansas Hospital and The University of Kansas Physicians (UKP) are working toward establishing a new, streamlined, more integrated structure. We all recognize that the current structure of our clinical enterprise - with inpatient care at the hospital and ambulatory care provided through the 18 clinical departments, each governed by an independent foundation under the umbrella of UKP - is simply too complicated to allow all of us to be as efficient and adaptive as we must be to respond to the changing health care industry.
Because our School of Medicine faculty are the ones providing that clinical care, changes in the health care industry have major implications for our educational mission. Also, because those clinical operations fund a significant portion of our educational missions, the success of our educational mission depends on the success of our clinical mission. So we are creating what will ultimately be the University of Kansas Health System.
Simplifying a multi-organizational structure that has grown so complex over a period of decades, for reasons that were valid at the time, is a herculean project. Much of the work has already been done. Many of our clinical department chairs have been in talks about the project since it was announced, and for the last few months a group Dr. Stites refers to as "the principals" has been meeting all day every other Wednesday. These principals are Bob Page, president and CEO of the hospital; Tammy Peterman, the hospital's executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief nursing officer; Bill Marting, the hospital's senior vice president and chief financial officer; Jim Albertson, CEO of UKP; Kirk Benson, president of UKP; Lowell Tilzer, chair of our department of pathology and laboratory medicine; David Vranicar, our vice chancellor of finance; and myself and Dr. Stites. Supporting this effort is Chris Collins from ECG Management Consultants and a team of colleagues from our respective legal offices.
The next phase will require involvement from more people. Dr. Stites has assembled 23 work groups and tasked them with answering specific questions over the next three months. Those work groups and their assignments are posted here, along with a copy of Dr. Stites' slide set. Video of the town hall meeting will also be posted there soon.
We anticipate much more communication about this effort in the months ahead. Meanwhile, be prepared if someone gives you a pop quiz on the meaning of "clinical integration." It's the future, and we're building it together.