March 7, 2018

Here's what Cleveland Clinic's new CEO is planning for the post-Cosgrove era

Daily Briefing

    Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Tom Mihaljevic in his first "State of the Clinic" address last week outlined the system's 2017 accomplishments and announced new initiatives to boost patient safety and reduce physician burnout.

    Mihaljevic started as CEO Jan. 1. He succeeds Toby Cosgrove, a cardiologist, who retired last year after more than 40 years with the clinic.

    2017 in review

    Mihaljevic in his address cited accomplishments under Cosgrove's leadership, saying Cosgrove "leaves us well-positioned for future growth." According to Mihaljevic, the Clinic in 2017 saw increases in revenue, patient volume, research funding, and community benefit.

    The Clinic over 2017 saw operating revenue increase 5%, to $8.4 billion, and net operating income hit $328 million, Mihaljevic said. Research funding increased 4.6%, to $272 million. Mihaljevic cited increased efficiencies as a factor behind the gains, pointing out an $800 million reduction in the budget in recent years. The reduction came in part from the My TwoCents program, through which employees offer ideas on how the organization can improve, Mihaljevic said.

    The Clinic under Cosgrove's leadership also saw 7% growth in patient visits, for a total of 7.6 million visits in 2017, Mihaljevic said. He attribute this in part to improved access to care via new urgent and Express Care centers, virtual visits, shared medical appointments, and same-day appointments.

    In addition, Mihaljevic pointed to a 17% increase in community benefit between 2015 and 2016. The Clinic provided $809 million in community benefit in 2016.

    Further, Mihaljevic cited a reduction in readmissions, increased hand-washing, and better care coordination. Cleveland Clinic was ranked the No. 2 hospital in the country by U.S. News & World Report, the No. 1 hospital for urology, and the No. 1 hospital for cardiology and heart surgery for the 23rd year in a row, Mihaljevic noted.

    New initiatives

    In the address, Mihaljevic also announced goals to improve patient safety and plans to reduce caregiver burnout. 

    Regarding patient safety, Mihaljevic said the Clinic "will continue to strengthen our culture of safety and to become an ultra-high reliability organization." He said the system will reduce hospital-acquired infections and serious safety events "to zero." He added, "And we will become the safest place in health care, anywhere."

    To address burnout, Mihaljevic announced the creation of the Office of Caregiver Experience. The office will work with caregivers to find opportunities for improvement when it comes to burnout, career development, and wellness. According to Mihaljevic's announcement, a recent Cleveland Clinic survey found about one-third of physicians met the criteria for burnout.

    The new office is slated to open in coming months and will work with every Cleveland Clinic institute, hospital, and location, according to the announcement.

    "We are here for patients first," Mihaljevic said. "But we can't succeed unless we take care of ourselves. As CEO, I see my job as taking care of the people who take care of the patients" (MacDonald, FierceHealthcare, 3/1; Cleveland Clinic release, 2/28; Crain's Cleveland Business/Modern Healthcare, 3/1; Bryant, Healthcare DIVE, 3/1).

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