Expectations Met - And Then Some
January 12, 2023
UH Clinical Update | January 2023
By Scott M. Sasser, MD, FACEP
Chief Physician Executive, University Hospitals, and President, UHPS and UHMG
Happy New Year!
As I close in on my first six months at University Hospitals, I thought I would take the opportunity with this blog to share a few initial thoughts. First and foremost, thank you. I have enjoyed a warm and gracious welcome onto the UH team since my first day here. Looking back, the interview process last year, first via phone calls, then on Zoom calls and finally in person here in Cleveland, confirmed what I already knew about UH’s impressive reputation around the country and around the world: that UH is great organization, with great people and a rich, storied history of clinical care and service. There is an enduring, transcendent commitment to being the Hometown Team, to caring for the community of Northeast Ohio, training the next generation of physicians and clinicians and continually advancing the science of health care -- locally, nationally, and globally.
After being on board for six months, I still feel that way – perhaps even more so. The last several months have been quite busy, and the learning curve has no doubt been steep. While I came from a similar-sized organization, every organization does health care a little bit different, so I have spent a lot of time getting to “know” UH through rounding and conversations, our daily work and tours of our facilities. I have focused not only our structures, processes and protocols, but also our people, our culture and learning how we live out our mission every day. In the midst of my onboarding journey, I feel great satisfaction and gratitude that everything I believed to be true about UH is actually true. It is a great organization. There are great people who work here. There is this remarkable history of care, service, and education that we have been fortunate enough to provide in this community and beyond for many years. My initial impressions have certainly been confirmed.
Part of why I feel so comfortable is that UH’s focus on mission aligns with my own. I am very much a “missional” person. It is what gets me up in the morning. It is why I chose to go into emergency medicine (EM) as a career -- I have always loved that aspect of EM, caring for everyone, anytime. This focus carries into my role and is a part of what I do each day and with every conversation I have -- it is just where my heart is. This personal missional focus resonates at UH, and is evident in our caregivers and team. I am passionate about our mission at UH and the role I have with physicians and providers and our ability to lead, engage in and drive that UH mission.
What does this mean for the work I am doing? First of all, I’m working every day to ensure that our UH physician and provider enterprise is continually aligned, integrated and engaged, as I believe that this is essential to everything that we want to accomplish as an organization -- from clinical operations and care, to quality and experience, to physician and provider engagement, and to our financial goals. Second, we are focusing on access and spending a lot of time on ensuring that we are available to the patients who need us -- through scheduling and availability, staffing, and operations. There is a lot of work going on. This has always been a priority for UHPS, and it remains so today. Finally, we are also always brainstorming ways to be more efficient and streamlined in the care we provide. Demands on health care system operations across the county predate the pandemic, but those demands are even greater now, with persistent supply chain issues, inflation and staffing challenges. This changing face of health care means we have to develop new and nimble solutions that are beneficial to our patients, ensure the highest quality of care and experience and function at the highest levels of efficiency in our daily clinical operations.
Health care is facing unprecedented challenges – and we are also facing them at UH. But I cannot think of any other organization where I’d rather be than as a part of this outstanding organization -- an organization committed to its mission, focused on providing high-quality care to the community and leading through with success and resilience. When it comes to UH, my initial impressions were spot on. I am glad to be here, and I could not be more excited about the future of the organization. I am thrilled to be a part of the team and look forward to what we can accomplish together for our community this new year.