Carolinas HealthCare System

Issue 5 – October 2014

A Message from Roger Ray, MD, EVP, CPE

Roger Ray, MD

As many of you know, my wife Eileen and I recently sent our first child off to college, so I have been in a state of reflection as we begin a new life chapter. While each of us realize that our children change, grow and move on to other phases of their development – such as leaving for school, the military or other paths – there are often moments when we wish that things could remain the same.

In healthcare, while we are accustomed to change, the speed of which we have experienced lately makes some yearn for the status quo.
Fortunately, many of you are helping our organization transform since the status quo is no longer a viable option. As our leaders have well-articulated, we are facing intense pressure to reduce costs while improving quality, outcomes and customer service.

We have a clear strategy of how to adapt to the changes, and to date have done a good job of managing our resources with an eye toward efficiency and transformation to a fully patient-centered model of care. While you’ll read many examples in this issue, I want to underscore a few key areas of transformation in action:

  • We foresaw the impact of consumerism and the trend toward delivering healthcare in retail environments. We have many initiatives underway right now to make ourselves more competitive in this space.
  • We’ve made huge strides in advancing our telemedicine capability, including a new effort, which launched recently, enabling both employees and consumers to have virtual visits with advanced clinical practitioners for common ailments.
  • We understood the importance of expanding our network of physician practices, so that we could integrate our services much more effectively, and smooth the way for patients to receive the right care at the right time in the right place. Currently, the CHS Medical Group now encompasses more than 150 practices offering care at over 450 locations.
  • We saw the growing demand for highly sophisticated services outside the urban core, so we developed a broad network of satellite facilities and emergency departments that has been remarkably successful.
  • We saw the need for entirely new models of care for rural health, behavioral health and cancer treatment – trends that led to our innovative facility design in the Anson community; our pioneering work at Mindy Ellen Levine Behavioral Health Center in Davidson; and our decentralized care model at Levine Cancer Institute.

The examples are not simply mid-course corrections or temporary solutions. We have strategically responded to ensure we can hold fast to our mission while meeting the long-term needs of our communities.

So while change can bring uncertainty, it also is energizing to glimpse the possibilities ahead – much like a young person embarking upon a new life endeavor after high school.

Lastly, if you did not have an opportunity to attend our Physician eTown Hall forum – featuring John Barkley, MD and Scott Lindblom, MD – a recording is available for viewing on our Physician Connect intranet site. During this presentation, we discussed real-world examples of one of our System’s strategic priorities, Integrated System of Care. The last half of event was dedicated to our physician community who sent in questions that our panel addressed.

Thank you for joining our dialogue that evening. And thank you for the sacrifices you continue to make daily on behalf of our patients and communities.