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MUSC Health leadership presents strategic plan

Stuart Smith, vice president for clinical operations and executive director, MUSC Medical Center, and Jack Feussner, M.D., executive senior associate dean, College of Medicine, shared details about the MUHA, the College of Medicine and MUSC Physicians' MUSC Health Strategic Plan. Smith gave a historical review of the plan's development since 2000 while Feussner spoke about progress with current activity.

Smith described the medical center in 2000 to be a place of constant change with multiple strategic issues including new leadership, evolving priorities, new financial position and off-campus development. It also was a period when the institution shifted support from research to a clinical focus. The medical center evolved to become the Medical University Hospital Authority.

Driving some of the changes at MUSC, and at other medical institutions across the country, were results from an Institute of Medicine report about medical errors. As a result MUSC re-focused its commitment to patient safety initiatives. It also was during this time that plans were approved for a new hospital design. From 2000 to 2003 the hospital's tactical plan focused on reducing cost of care, enhancing management effectiveness and other priorities. In 2004 HUD funding was approved for Phase 1 construction, which would become Ashley River Tower in 2007. In early 2006, the medical center launched MUSC Excellence. In 2007, the medical center invested in information technology improvements and implemented its service line concept for care.

At the same time, MUSC Physicians, formerly known as UMA, supported hospital expansion with the opening of Ashley River Tower and other off-campus development, in addition to making improvements to the Faculty Practice Management structure.

From 2010 to 2011, reviews were made on the hospital cost structure, quality and transparency, recruitments, expansion in the market and improvements to MUSC Excellence. During this period, the COM welcomed a new dean, recruited a new chief medical information officer in addition to numerous other activities. To summarize, the institution's past has positioned the hospital to take this next step, Mission 2015 and MUSC's goal to achieve national recognition as a top 25 academic medical center for reputation, quality, service efficiency and financial performance by 2015.

Feussner reminded managers that as an academic medical center, MUSC's mission is to conduct research, focus on discovery, provide quality patient care and educate future health care workers. To do this, he said, MUSC must operate as an integrated health system that's cooperative in achieving common goals with unified decision-making. Feussner reviewed the MUSC Health Strategic Plan – Mission 2015.

In 2011, 51 percent of physicians in the country were employed physicians. Nationally, the competitive pressures locally, regionally and nationally challenged private practices as well as hospitals and academic medical centers. Changes in consumer expectations, systems, processes and a decrease in reimbursements continued to be challenging.

The updated strategic plan is being led by the MUHA, the College of Medicine and MUSC Physicians leadership, collectively known as MUSC Health. It also involves a comprehensive look at performance, market strengths and opportunities. In addition to leadership involvement in its development, many additional stakeholders were interviewed, including department administrators, chairmen and MUSC board of trustee members. The plan was presented to the board of trustees in December 2011.

On Feb. 3, more than 125 MUSC physicians, clinical leaders and administrative staff gathered for a planning retreat and discussion about MUSC Health's commitment to the new plan. College of Medicine Dean Etta D. Pisano, M.D., vice president for medical affairs, and other leadership kicked off the planning and work event.

The strategic plan features seven driving strategies with action-oriented tactics. Each driving strategy and tactic has leadership to guide its progress: q Unify and align the clinical enterprise to facilitate decision making, enhance coordination of care, build accountability and drive down costs (Strategy leaders: Jack Feussner, M.D., and Stuart Smith).

  • Expand awareness, preference and market leadership for the MUSC Brand (Phil Costello, M.D., and Stuart Smith)
  • Strategically expand access and capacity (Peter Zwerner, M.D., and Pat Cawley, M.D.)
  • Aggressively grow primary care and outpatient services (Jack Feussner, M.D., and Peter Zwerner, M.D.)
  • Establish statewide partnership to provide the right care in the right place at the right time (Phil Saul, M.D., and Mark Lyles, M.D.)
  • Build human and financial capital to grow expertise, learning, discovery and reputation (Steve Valerio and Lisa Montgomery)
  • Intensify investment in information and communications systems to leverage MUSC's expertise and access (Bob Warren, M.D., and Mike Balassone)

MUSC's progress with this plan will not only improve patient care, quality and inpatient growth but will provide increased benefits for the people of South Carolina, the Lowcountry community, students, staff and faculty.
MUSC Health employees are invited to contribute to the plan"s implementation. Feedback is welcome. For information, visit or email




Friday, April 13, 2012

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.