November 28, 2016

Organizing for Success: The necessity of change

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Last month I shared with you some of the basis for Organizing for Success and the need for intentional and transformational change at UAB Medicine to position ourselves for the future and reach our goals in becoming the Preferred Academic Medical Center.  

Today, I’d like to share the rationale on why we need Organizing for Success and the opportunities this reorganization will provide toward reaching our full potential.

Competing medical centers around us are changing and frankly, UAB Medicine will be left behind if we don’t change as well. Local hospitals are joining national health systems and competing as never before for providers and for patients, and regional academic medical centers that are ever present in our own back yard are recruiting our faculty and aggressively advertising to attract patients.

UAB Medicine has a strong foundation of quality and achievement across all components of our mission to build upon. We have had significant success in the last few years – in clinical quality, patient satisfaction, research funding, scientific impact, innovating in medical education at every level, recruiting and retaining top talent. But, we have hit a ceiling for what we can accomplish without organizational transformation that includes true structural alignment. The transactional cost to get anything accomplished in our current “by influence” organizational structure of UAB Medicine is too high. We need greater structural alignment that doesn’t rely on relationships and influence alone to make decisions.

UAB Medicine’s organizational model is a model of one, and it isn’t an aspirational model. This limits us in recruiting senior leadership as we plan for our future.

A reorganization of our structure will unlock current barriers that are keeping us from reaching our goals, and will generate the following opportunities for UAB Medicine:
  • Creating a single, distinct mission for the entire organization
  • Establishing governance that reflects the full scope of being a preferred academic medical center—research, education and clinical care
  • Creating a culture of excellence and a competitive strategy to be the dominant healthcare provider in the Southeast
  • Strengthening  trust through transparency and accountability
  • Increasing physician leadership throughout every aspect of UAB Medicine—including hospital, school and practice plan
  • Committing—both  financially and culturally— to discovery science from all aspects of the institution
  • Increasing  opportunities to improve our margin and provide financial stability and accountability for growth
  • Enhancing the alignment of leadership throughout UAB Medicine

As we move forward in this process, a transition committee has been created to prepare recommendations regarding the governance and organization of UAB Medicine.  Members of the committee represent  the UA Health Services Foundation, the University of Alabama System and UAB include the following: (HSF) Dr. Jim Bonner, Dr. Herb Chen, Dr. David Standaert, Don James, Eddie Adair; (UA) Ray Hayes, Ron Gray, John Johns, Finis St. John,  Jim Wilson; (UAB) Dr. Ray Watts, Allen Bolton, Dr. Will Ferniany, Dr. Tika Benveniste and myself.

The transition committee has had two highly productive meetings to date. The group will continue discussing their recommendations and will be sharing those with the UA HSF board and the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees. I expect to have specific details to share with you in December and January.