Cleveland Clinic, already a behemoth in healthcare, wants to double the number of patients it treats in just five years, clinic president and CEO Dr. Tom Mihaljevic announced Wednesday morning, Feb. 27, in the State of the Clinic address.
In the annual speech, he highlighted the system's finances, which took a hit in 2018, as well as the health of the institution's care of its patients, its caregivers, its community and itself.
Mihaljevic wants the clinic to see more than 4 million patients annually by 2024. Digital health will be a major driver in reaching that goal, as well as population health and the opening of Cleveland Clinic London in 2021. Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi also is growing at roughly 30% every year.
"Last year we cared for over 2 million patients, more than ever before," Mihaljevic told a full room in the ballroom of the InterContinental Hotel on the clinic campus. "And despite adding more facilities and more caregivers, we have barely, barely made a dent in the demand for our services. We can't take this demand for granted. It is our moral obligation to open our doors as wide as possible for those in need."
The clinic will grow both physically and digitally, Mihaljevic said, highlighting investment priorities in the Neurological Institute, the Cole Eye Institute, Fairview Hospital and Mentor.
In Mentor, the clinic is looking at building a "small" hospital, the exact size and scope of which is to be determined, he said, noting the system will create a presence there with both outpatient and inpatient services.
In 2018, the clinic earned $266 million in operating income — down 19% from the year prior — on $8.9 billion in operating revenue, up 6% from 2017.
The operating income is closer to 2016 levels — a tough year financially for the clinic — of $243 million on $8 billion in operating revenue. This operating income was a drop from previous years that the clinic rebounded from in 2017.
The decrease in operating income "is a reflection of the growing and rising cost of healthcare and the decreasing reimbursement, you know, the two trends that have been present in healthcare for quite some time," he told reporters after the speech, stressing that the not-for-profit health system is focused on caring for patients.
"We are not here to make money; we are here to serve our patients and to serve our education and research purpose," he said.
The clinic also calculated its financials for the start of 2019, when a Florida hospital and three-hospital health system joined the clinic's network. Including Indian River Medical Center and Martin Health System, the clinic has an operating income of $244 million on $9.8 billion in operating revenue.
The clinic's 2018 operating margin was 3%, down from 3.9% in 2017. Calculating in the new Florida facilities, in 2019, the operating margin is 2.5%
Mihaljevic also highlighted the safety priorities for both patients and caregivers. Although the clinic last year reduced serious safety events, the system has to do better, he said.
He identified what he called a national "epidemic" of violence against healthcare workers, especially in emergency departments. Cleveland Clinic is no exception to this problem, confiscating nearly 30,000 weapons last year alone. This has been a growing problem, he said.
The clinic has increased its police presence, installed metal detectors in some spaces, added panic buttons to badges, began offering police escorts to parking areas for staff and more.
"We are committed to protect each other just as we protect our patients and just as we protect and care for the organization and its resources," he said.
Looking ahead, Mihaljevic said that nothing the clinic will do this year will benefit the future of health care more than the opening of the health education campus, a joint project with Case Western Reserve University opening this summer.
"It will teach health care professionals to be members of interdisciplinary teams and promote lifelong learning," he said. "The health education campus will shift the center of gravity of medical education closer than ever to Cleveland, Ohio."
The clinic's vision, he said, is to be the best place for healthcare anywhere and the best place to work in healthcare. The system can accomplish this, he said, by staying true to what it is: a team with the patient at the center of everything it does.
"I can stand before and say with healthy confidence that every country in the world wishes it had a Cleveland Clinic, and every patient in the world would come to Cleveland Clinic if they could," Mihaljevic said. "We should all be very proud of this. You make Cleveland Clinic a haven for the sick. We bring hope for millions. And this is why access to Cleveland care is a critical issue for us."
Other highlights of 2018 include:
- The opening of Cleveland Clinic Children's outpatient center, a new free-standing outpatient facility opened on the main campus.
- The opening of the Lakewood Family Health Center, which includes comprehensive health services and a 24/7 emergency department.
- The opening of the Akron General Emergency Department, an investment that triples the size of the previous ED.
- The formal acquisition of Union Hospital, now a full member of Cleveland Clinic.
- The opening of a new four-story bed tower in Weston, Fla.
- Also in Florida, the opening of a new family health center in Coral Springs and a medical office building in Wellington in Palm Beach County.
- Cleveland Clinic Canada's partnership with one of the largest sports medicine clinics in Canada.
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