Thank you to those who turned out for my first Town Hall meeting this week. It was great to see so many familiar faces and many more new ones. I am honored to be the dean of our school with so many talented contributors – I know we have the ability to collectively overcome any challenge. You may be asked to serve on special committees to work on solutions as we grow this culture of excellence – but even if you are not, please be assured your feedback and input is always valued.
One issue that I have been working on this week is clinical billing. The UT and McKesson (the company contracted to do our clinical billing) leadership met to discuss the challenges of clinical billing with UT Physicians. I will reiterate what I said in the Town Hall meeting – we cannot hold our faculty liable for what they did not train for – billing and collections. It is the administration’s responsibility to address this type of issue, and we are taking this quite seriously for the performance of the practice plan. An ad hoc team of Medical School, led by Andrew Casas, and McKesson employees has been created to identify departments most in need of billing help. These qualified individuals will not leave a department until the issue is resolved – then they will move on to the next department.
I also had a meeting with the chairs of the basic science departments this week, and the issue of teaching relative value units (RVUs) was again discussed. A committee is working on a solution on how these RVUs will be compensated, but regardless of the solution, we cannot let the RVU system disrupt our teaching program. Instead, we must find a way to strengthen our educational programs as we fairly distribute RVUs among our departments and faculty.
At the Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital this week, I found a great group of people committed to outstanding teaching programs and high standards of patient care. What a great team we have there!
And at our other primary teaching hospital, Craig Cordola, the CEO of Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, has achieved the highest rankings in the country in terms of important core measures such as mortality and length of stay. Our Children’s Hospital is consistently among the top 15 children’s hospitals in the country as a result of the partnership with our faculty.
You know the saying, “it takes money to make money.” Well, we will be investing in the Medical School’s Office of Development, restructuring it so that it can be most effective when it comes to future fund-raising initiatives for the Medical School. I will keep you posted on its structure.
Speaking of money, now is the time to prepare to give to the State Employee Charitable Campaign, which kicked off yesterday for the Medical School in the Leather Lounge. Our goal is a 25 percent participation rate, with a total of $90,000. Please join me in giving to the SECC, and we will let the community know that the Medical School cares.
It finally is feeling like fall in Houston – enjoy it!