OHSU’s Operating Income is $9 Million Over Budget Projections

But, at the same time, revenue decreased by $4 million from last fiscal year
The Lund Report

April 4, 2012 -- Oregon Health & Science University reported $36 million in operating income at last month's board meeting – $9 million more than anticipated since its fiscal year began last July.

At the same time, revenue decreased by $4 million, which was offset by a $13 million reduction in expenses, Lawrence Furnstahl, chief financial officer, told the board. Those figures include a $14 million cut in Medicaid reimbursement and the end of stimulus funding – both of which were offset by increases in grant awards and patient activity, which grew by 8 percent since last July.

“If we're a little behind or off in our timing in one place, we're bringing it up in another place,” Furnstahl said.

OHSU is also recruiting a chief integrity officer and gathering community feedback on a repository of genetic information called the Knight Biolibrary which researchers hope will enhance translational research, according to Dr. Ronald Marcum, interim chief integrity officer.

Infrastructural changes are also under way, taking a closer look at how performance is rewarded, said Dr. Chuck Kilo, chief medical officer. Most recently, his team has looked at decreasing the number of catheter-related infections in patients – including infections in the blood stream as well as urinary tract infections – which the Center for Disease Control has set as a national priority in hospital care.

“Our nursing staff are working very hard, and what you don't want to do is push for perfection and get down on people for something they couldn't prevent,” Kilo said, noting that some catheter infections occur when patients are admitted to the hospital (especially if they come from another facility) while patients recovering from organ transplants may be especially susceptible.

Kilo’s team is also looking at ways to prevent negative outcomes and improve the quality of care, and appoint a director of quality in each department. Redesigning continuing medical education is another priority.

Right now, physicians typically take continuing education classes based on their own interests. Kilo would like to see individual departments make recommendation about what physicians should learn and take a role in designing such curricula.

Meanwhile, Brian Newman, OHSU's director of planning and development, said his team is looking at campus buildings in disrepair to determine whether they should be torn down or undergo reconstruction. Developing the South Waterfront area as a center for outpatient activity is another goal along with making some changes to the Marquam Hill campus.

“There's a lot of people who think there's no 'there' there on Marquam Hill, and they don't think there's enough sense of campus,” Newman said. His team will research ways to “knit” the campus together, including creating more gathering spaces, so the area feels more like a campus than a set of unrelated buildings.

Dr. Mary Stenzel-Poore, chair of the department of molecular microbiology and immunology, and OHSU Provost Dr. Jeanette Mlandenovic also discussed the university's research roadmap, which includes a five-year plan as well as a set of criteria for annual review. Creating that plan was in response to funding reductions from the National Institutes of Health and other sources, said Stenzel-Poore. The university needs to be “practical and innovative at the same time,” she added.

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