The University of Texas Medical School at Houston The University of Texas Medical School at Houston
July 23, 2010 | from the Office of Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo

Distributed every other Friday via e-mail to all Medical School employees, students, residents, and postdoctoral fellows, UT 2 Me is Dean Giuseppe Colasurdo's update of news and items of interest. He also welcomes feedback through this two-way communication.

As we enter the last weeks of July, I can tell you that June was our best month for our clinical group practice, UT Physicians. With almost $54 million in charges and $13 million in collections, our clinical sites are posting an 11-12 percent increase compared to last year – and a 40% growth in the past three years. Specialties with robust growth include otorhinolaryngology, orthopaedic surgery, cardiothoracic and vascular surgery, internal medicine, and surgery – all of which made significant contributions to this amazing accomplishment.

Our revenue cycle is demonstrating improvement in most all departments --  our strong alignment with McKesson, the availability of new data, and the involvement of our DMOs are helping us make these strides.

In this economic climate and these uncertain times for health care, you all are making incredible improvements to the efficient operation of our clinical practice with the goal of enhancing our patients’ health. Thank you for what you do.

Despite this stellar growth, we must be prepared for the challenging fiscal years ahead as we enter into what will certainly be a challenging legislative session. I am confident our chairs and administrators will make the necessary adjustments to reflect our current economic environment. And, I am optimistic that the annual operating agreement with Memorial Hermann will be finalized in the next few weeks, which will help us in our budgeting and planning process.

We welcomed visitors from the UT System, led by Charlie Chaffin, to perform a recent audit of the Medical Service Research and Development Plan (MSRDP). The interactive sessions gave us areas of constructive discussions, such as the governance of the organization, transparency, the compensation plan as linked to productivity, and communication. It was a helpful review and gave us some ideas for improvement.

A few weeks following our official ribbon cutting, Andrew Casas, Kevin Dillon, and I were proud to give President Larry Kaiser the grand tour of our new UT Physicians Sienna Village office. It is important for us to provide our expert clinical services beyond the borders of the Texas Medical Center and into the community, where there is a real need for specialists. It is equally important that we venture into these new territories as partners with the local physicians.

You may have noticed that Chuck Stokes, COO of Memorial Healthcare System, has been making more visits to our campus. It is helpful to have him here, informing us of the strategic initiatives of the entire system.  I am confident that he will continue to be an asset to our campus due to his strong relationship with our incoming CEO of Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center Craig Cordola.

Congratulations to Memorial Hermann and our physicians and staff who work hard to make it tops as rated by U.S. News  & World Report. For the 21st consecutive year, TIRR Memorial Hermann ranks within the top five rehabilitation hospitals across the country, and Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center was recognized in the areas of Heart and Heart Surgery, Gynecology, Urology, and Kidney Disease. What a testament to an amazing partnership!

I was pleased to welcome the incoming fellows and residents at the first of this month and reminded them what Dr. Herbert Fred said, “The patients we have here are unbeatable.” I also reminded them that it is their choice -- to just survive or excel. And never forget -- read, read, read!

As we struggle to find positions for 20 residents this year, I have to say how appreciative I am for all of the hard work our residents and fellows put in each day. The role they have in the delivery of patient care is truly remarkable – imagine what kind of care we would be providing without these 900 physicians. In this respect, Dr. John Potts, assistant dean for Graduate Medical Education, is considering a special feature film, “A day without a resident” just to show us the realities of such a scenario. As we review the impact of new duty hour regulations and wrestle with the national issue of needing more resident positions but having less dollars, I want to thank Dr. Patricia Butler for her incredible leadership in this area. I am confident that we will have our hospital partners aligned with us to create an environment that will promote the training of physicians who will lead health care.

I recently met with the Office of Student Affairs and Admissions to discuss how to continue to improve the admissions interview process and promote diversity and teamwork. I always hear such glowing reviews of the interview day from our students and their parents. I want to give a special thanks to Dr. John Foringer and our third-year students for allowing us to re-emphasize the rules of professionalism and showing us how communication can be improved.

Speaking of faculty, I always enjoy the discussion of the infamous RVUs, and I am glad this concept is better understood as fair by our Faculty Senate. Unfortunately, there are not enough state funds available to fully support this data-driven model to justly compensate our teaching mission.

Employing physicians was the topic of a Texas Medical Association meeting I attended last week in Austin with Andrew Casas and Sharay Zeitz. The question of whether physicians should remain “independent” or be employed by hospital associations remains, but there is no doubt that providers will be driving the new realities of health care in the United States. We will have to be open to close relationships with our hospital partners, clinical integration, and provide a continuum of care to monitor and manage access, quality, and costs.

You have probably heard the news that Susan Coulter, our vice president for institutional advancement, will be leaving next month to take another leadership position. We are grateful for what she had done for our schools – bringing many friends to us – and we wish her the best.

A reminder to faculty and alumni, that the students and I hope to see you at the annual Student Retreat. All of the information may be found on the Website.

Have a great weekend,


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