In a time of MU struggles, MU Health Care reports strong year

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Thanks to two partnerships, one past and one future, MU Health Care is positioned well for future growth, CEO Jonathan Curtright said at a Friday meeting of the UM System Board of Curators Health Affairs Committee.

Curator and committee member John Phillips agreed with the positive characterization of MU Health Care’s financial state: “Very strong performance,” he said. “I think we can all see things are going quite well this year.”

The Tiger Institute, a venture between MU Health Care and Cerner Corp., helps keep medical records far more effectively, and the future partnership of Boone Hospital Center and MU Health Care provides enormous potential for growth and improvement, Curtright said.

Together, presentations on each of those partnerships throughout the meeting combined to paint a rosy picture for MU Health Care’s future.

“The Tiger Institute is one of the absolute secrets of our success,” Curtright said.

The institute, created in 2009, provides a system for medical records that is far more convenient and comprehensive. It used to take 41 keystrokes for a doctor to pull up a diabetes patient’s medical history, said former MU Health Care Vice Chancellor Harold Williamson in 2009, and thanks to the Tiger Institute it now takes one. It also allows hospitals around Missouri, through the Health Network of Missouri Partnership, to share data and electronic medical records. This helps patient treatment and diagnosis, and allows hospitals to work together much more effectively.

“Overall there are many outstanding things that are happening with the Tiger Institute,” Curtright said.

“And don’t you just love the name? The Tiger Institute!” Curator Phillip Snowden said to widespread laughter.

Curtright also laid out some of the future benefits of a looming partnership between MU Health and Boone Hospital.

The main benefits of such a partnership, he said, are an expansion of access to health care, local job growth and more efficient, less redundant care in Columbia. A successful partnership between the two Columbia hospitals would allow them to compete with larger medical destinations like St. Louis and Kansas City, Curtright said.

A partnership between Boone and MU Health Care would also make building expansions more affordable, he said.

“Missourians will not have to pay as much for brick and mortar if we are better able to collaborate with Boone Health Center,” Curtright said.

Capital planning

MU Health Care also laid out its plan for capital projects over the next five years. A multidisciplinary team — made up of MU Health Care executives, School of Medicine leadership, physician leaders and university physicians — will oversee the process.

The plan presents five building projects:

A Cardiovascular Clinic and Diagnostic Center with a $16 million project budget is slated for year two of the plan. The clinic and center would “consolidate and co-locate cardiovascular service line” and include non-invasive imaging and outpatient catheterization laboratory.A Primary Care Clinic Facility, land and building, with a $5 million budget is slated for year one. The project consists of a 15,000-gross-square-foot building “near a growing residential area” somewhere in either the southwest and north/northeast areas of the city, according to meeting documents.A $50 million outpatient clinic on Keene Street or by the South Providence location would be budgeted evenly over years one and two. The clinic would be a four-story, 98,000-gross-square-foot building, according to meeting documents.A $250 million inpatient project at University Hospital, split evenly over years two and three. The project would be a replacement of the original 1956 hospital.A $200 million inpatient project at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, split evenly over years four and five. This building would “ensure adequate space for clinical care,” according to meeting documents.

“There are Missourians that are wanting their care at the University of Missouri and are not able to get it because we simply do not have the capacity,” Curtright said.

Eight patients today couldn’t be treated because of the lack of space, Curtright said.

The plan also included the purchase of several buildings on the Women’s and Children’s Hospital campus, including a $30 million purchase of the Health Pavilion.

The three-story, 71,245-square-foot building was constructed in 1998 and houses clinical space for a pediatric specialty clinic and an OB/GYN clinic, in addition to an outpatient surgical center with five surgical suites. MU Health Care currently leases the building and rents many of the parking spaces that patients use today, Doll said, and the lease expires in September 2020.

“We are actively using this building every day,” said Jennifer Doll, MU Health Care executive director of finance/controller.

MU Health Care received a request from the owner inquiring whether MU Health Care would be interested in purchasing the building.

In addition to construction and purchasing, the plan also presented a renovation project for the exterior of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital Building Exterior.

The exterior building envelope “shows signs of deterioration,” according to meeting documents, and for $15 million the project will “remove and replace the exterior building components.”

“We need to replace that exterior building envelope because we have signs of water penetration in some of the windows,” Doll said.

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