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MUSCMedical LinksCharleston LinksArchivesCatalyst AdvertisersSeminars and EventsResearch StudiesPublic RelationsResearch GrantsMUSC home pageCommunity HappeningsCampus NewsApplause


Currents Jan. 6

To Medical Center Employees:
We are continuing to carefully monitor our financial situation as we assess the effectiveness of various cost savings initiatives implemented to date this fiscal year. We need to continue to focus on controlling costs and improving operational efficiency while providing high quality and compassionate care.
During the Jan. 6 communication meeting Steve Hargett, medical center controller, gave the management team an update on our financial status. His comments are highlighted in this newsletter. Among other things, Hargett explained that the State Department of Health and Human Services’ reimbursement formula (for Medicaid) resulted in overpayment of hospitals throughout the state and we have to repay for past fiscal years. This coupled with a reduction in the Medicaid reimbursement rates has further complicated our financial situation. Also, our procedure-based gross charges were down in November as a result of having 10 weekend days and the Thanksgiving holiday during the month. It’s expected that December will be a better month for procedure-based charges, even with the holidays. Additional details are included in this newsletter.
We have done a good job in most areas with our patient satisfaction results. This is something we have to be very attuned to during these challenging financial times. The table below illustrates the preliminary results for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2008. Our goal is to achieve the  80th percentile or higher.

Patient Satisfaction Results
Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, 2008*
Service                                      Percentile                      Mean
Adult Inpatient                            68 (N 956)                  85.0
Pediatric Inpatient                       82 (N 207)                  86.3
Pediatric Emergency Room         88 (N 223)                  84.4
Ambulatory Care                        87 (N 4417)                92.2
Outpatient Behavioral Health       87 (N 590)                  88.5
*preliminary results—final results expected Jan. 14

We need to fine tune our skills in use of patient satisfaction data and hone in on areas needing improvement. I ask that directors, service line administrators and others work closely with their patient satisfaction (Press Ganey) super users to carefully assess and communicate patient satisfaction results by all service areas. The table above illustrates scores based on the date surveys were received, and I suggest that super users also prepare reports that illustrate survey results based on discharge or outpatient visit dates.
Thank you very much.

W. Stuart Smith
Vice President for Clinical Operations
and Executive Director, MUSC Medical Center

People—Fostering employee pride and loyalty
Christine Lewis, manager of coding and incomplete records in Health Information Services/Medical Records and a member of the Joint Commission Survey Readiness team, spoke to managers about the team’s findings with current deficiencies that were reported and relate to proper documentation stemming from locating medical records to accuracy with dating and documentation of verbal orders (38 percent compliance); updating patient history and physical information 24-hours prior to surgery (89 percent); prohibited abbreviations; and other findings with pain reassessment (76 percent).

Employee Benefit of the Month—January
Helena Bastian, MUHA HR director, reviewed the January Benefit of the Month —employee perks and discounts. The employee perks and discounts program, coordinated by MUHA Volunteer Services, provides discounts for travel/leisure, online shopping (coupons/discounts), car rentals, florists, banking, cell phone service, partnership memberships (Costco and Sam’s Wholesale), tickets to special events (Charleston Stingrays, Charleston County Parks), plus others. Employees can review a complete list of discounts via the MUHA intranet. For information, call Contrenia Haynes, 792-7038.

Finance—Providing the highest value to patients while ensuring financial stability
Steve Hargett, medical center controller, gave the financial update for five months including a monthly accrual for the fiscal year 2005 Medicaid Disproportionate Share Program overpayment. Medicaid overpaid MUHA and MUHA is accruing $735,000 a month to make up $9 million. He cited other reasons for November’s performance reflecting activity. The average daily hospital census during this period was 532 (up 10 from October); 1,437 inpatient surgeries (1,191 in October); 826 outpatient surgeries (677 in October) 14,037.
According to Hargett, with less procedural volume (surgeries, etc.), revenues (gross and net) can go down. He commended staff for their efforts in controlling productivity. FTEs per adjusted occupied bed were relatively flat at 6.88 (6.87 in October). 
Hargett projects December results to improve, although MUHA also needs to repay  Medicaid for a 2006 overpayment. Every effort is being made for the hospital to get back to a positive bottom line.
Cash on hand is still very tight. The hospital is expected to receive news  Jan. 8 regarding approval from HUD on the renewal for their line of credit. Finally, to help better manage our cash, Hargett urged managers to quickly process invoices for repayment.


  • As of Jan. 5, the ART patient/family shuttle, operated by MUSC-Meducare Transport Services, has altered and provided direct routes from ART to Rutledge Tower (stops every 10 minutes); ART to Hollings Cancer Center and the Clinical Sciences Building ramp (every 15-20 minutes) and ART to McClennan Banks, Hollings and Clinical Sciences Building ramp (every 30 minutes). With these changes, it is no longer necessary for employees to call and request shuttle service. Shuttle hours of operation are from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
  • Beth Grannell, R.N., was named the new stroke program manager. Grannell has been a nurse educator on 7E (9W). She starts in her new role Jan. 19.
  • The next meeting is Jan. 13.

Friday, Jan. 9, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.