By Ray A. Wong and Jason Grinstead
Health Care Day marked an almost one month holiday break from our typical biweekly Leadership Tampa program schedule. What better way to pick up where we left off than to investigate some of Tampa’s best healthcare institutions: Tampa General Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center and St. Joseph’s Hospital.
It’s worth noting, prior to diving into the details of our program day, the reasons behind the need to dedicate a program day to Tampa’s healthcare industry. One need not look deeper than the economic impact that hospitals have in Florida to realize why the subject is a matter of concern to us here in Tampa. Recent figures show that, in Florida, nearly 850,000 jobs and nearly $48.6 billion (in salaries and wages) can be directly attributed to the healthcare industry. Healthcare facilities in the State of Florida are also responsible for nearly $115 billion in revenue. “Uncompensated care costs” are estimated to be in the $2.4 billion range, a figure that is significant because it represents a type of “hidden tax” that each citizen of the State of Florida is helping to pay for. These figures help highlight the need to better understand the healthcare industry’s immediate impact to our city.
Our healthcare day kicked off at one of Tampa’s newest Healthcare facilities. Interestingly enough, the facility is slated to be operated by one of Tampa’s oldest and most prestigious healthcare institutions: Tampa General Hospital (TGH). Mark Anderson, Senior VP of Ambulatory Services was kind enough to kick off the day by introducing us to their newest care center and by discussing TGH’s role in our community. TGH has the region’s only level one trauma center, is the primary “teaching hospital” in the region, and the Consumer’s Choice winner for eleven consecutive years. However, the focus this morning was the introduction of the Brandon HealthPlex which marks TGH’s foray into the realm of Ambulatory Care Services closer to the outskirts of a region they’ve been serving for decades. The HealthPlex was conceived, as Mark explained, to provide convenient, cost effective and comprehensive services to a growing healthcare market. The building itself is a four story, 130,000 square foot facility which is scheduled to open in February of 2017. The facility, offering a variety of primary care, ambulatory surgery, imaging and pharmacy services (just to name a few) will support TGH’s commitment to expand outpatient care services “closer to areas where patients live and work.” Not only did we talk about the HealthPlex, but we had the unique opportunity to tour portions of the facility ahead of its grand opening. The tour included a behind-the-scenes look of the Emergency Department and the Ambulatory Surgery Center. The tour also included a hand washing demonstration which highlighted the right way to conduct one of the simplest, but most effective, ways to prevent the transfer of infection in a health care setting.
The tour of the HealthPlex was followed by a lively panel discussion which focused on emerging innovations to reduce health care costs. The panel was composed of experts in the field as well as executives and doctors representing various local institutions. One of the issues that the discussion highlighted is the way that out of control costs can undermine the ability of facilities to provide better quality of care. The conversation covered a wide range of subject matter from reducing unit costs for medications and procedures to developing new solutions to increase efficiency and help drive cost down. The conversation also included discussions on how policy and regulatory considerations, the primary being the Affordable Care Act, help to drive the development of innovation down the line. This conversation was certainly an eye opening look at just one of the myriad of considerations that healthcare providers must grapple with.
Our next stop was Moffitt Cancer Center. Moffitt is Florida’s only National Cancer
Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and one of only 47 throughout the U.S. It is also ranked No. 6 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals for Cancer rankings. Moffitt employs over 5,200 people with three outpatient facilities and 206 inpatient beds in Tampa.
After receiving inspiring introductions to Moffitt by both Dr. Dana Rollinson (LT’16), Chief Data Officer and Dr. Tom Sellers, Center Director, we separated into two groups. Our group first participated in a fantastic discussion with Dr Eric Haura, Co-Program Leader of Chemical Biology and Molecular Medicine, regarding precision diagnosis and therapy for cancer care. The tremendous innovation in molecular mapping has enabled cancer specialists to identify which medications and doses will be most effective, driving personalized treatments for patients that improve their likelihood of treatment success and minimize unnecessary side effects.
Following this discussion, our group excitedly made its way to the “Ritz Carlton of Mouse
Facilities”. Moffitt is home to a 28,000 square foot vivarium that holds over 30,000 mice and includes a full suite of miniaturized scanning machinery (x-ray, MRI, CT, etc.). There we were met by Dr. Robert Engelman, the Director of Comparative Medicine, who, after we donned protective gear and air-showered into the vivarium, gave us a fascinating tour punctuated with important historical and medical facts that helped us understand the tremendous importance of mice in medical research. And, if you think mice are very cheap, their most expensive mice cost $26,000!
After the stimulating discussions and tours, we were treated to a delicious lunch while participating in a simultaneously invigorating and heartbreaking panel that discussed caring for the most vulnerable populations. This panel included some incredible people who lead organizations that care for vulnerable and under-served individuals as well as, with great impact, a patient who found herself struggling through the current system with very limited resources and access to care. Our key takeaways here were: that access to care, particularly mental health care, remains a major challenge, despite gains made as a
result of the Affordable Care Act, and that there are tremendous opportunities for efficiencies that currently are overlooked due to the complex nature of healthcare
payment systems. I left in awe of both the leaders who serve our Tampa Bay community selflessly to enable those needing care to receive it, and of the patients who have to struggle to receive the care they need on a timely basis. As an aside, the issue of mental / behavioral health was highlighted to us previously at Law Enforcement Day, and I took from both of these LT days that we need to focus as a society much more on de-stigmatizing mental illness and becoming more proactive to address mental and behavioral health issues.
Our final stop was a healthcare facility that’s been a part of the Tampa community since 1934. St. Joseph’s Hospital (SJH), a place “where care never stops,” contributes significantly to both the delivery of care within our City limits and also to our City’s economy. Take for example the fact that, at just one campus, the hospital operates three very distinct facilities: St Joes Hospital, SJH Children’s Hospital and St Joe’s Women’s Hospital. These facilities, along with other sister facilities, contribute an economic output of nearly $1.3 billion to the State. St. Joseph’s Hospital alone had a total of over 50,000 admissions and performed in excess of 28,000 surgeries last year, ranking “high” in five adult procedure categories (U.S. News) and second overall in the Tampa Metro area (U.S. News). These figures and data make it clear why St Joe’s was picked as one of only three stops on our healthcare program day.
Our visit to St Joe’s was kicked off by Kimberly Guy, who is the President to both St. Joseph’s Hospital as well as St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital. Kimberly was gracious enough to share with us parts of her inspirational professional journey from a time prior to her starting with St Joe’s in 2005 to current day as of the organization. Her message to us was simple, encouraging and powerful: don’t be afraid to take on more professional responsibility and get involved in the community you live in.
Our conversation with Kimberly was a perfect
segue to the class splitting up into groups to tour several departments. I found the Imaging department to be one of the most fascinating, in part because of the unique nature of the equipment used within this department, but also because of what the technicians are able to do with the equipment. Computer Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) represent two of the most significant ways through which technicians can provide surgeons with detailed internal images ahead of surgical procedures as well as during surgical procedures with the “hybrid OR” being a perfect example of the latter. Our tour of SJH Hybrid OR, one of only a handful in the State of Florida, focused on exposing us to how surgeons are now uniquely able to perform imaging procedures within the confines of an Operating Room setting. Our tour also included a look into the SJHS dedicated 3D Imaging Suite which focuses on gathering the information collected via various pieces of imaging equipment to create more detailed three-dimensional models that can then be manipulated to provide practitioners views unimaginable prior to the advent of this technology. The experience can be described as nothing less than mind-blowing.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. And such was the case with the LT 17’s Healthcare Day. The day concluded with a quick debrief where we were able to share, as a group, the unique perspectives and experiences gained throughout the day. Undoubtedly, we all took away a great deal from the day but, most of all, we gained a better understanding of the challenges faced by some of the most prominent healthcare facilities our great city has to offer.