Dianecorrigan“HUP has had a good year,” said Diane Corrigan,  HUP’s chief financial officer, at last month’s Meal with an Administrator. Lower patient activity and reduced reimbursements have had an impact on hospitals throughout the region, but HUP “is experiencing some growth in both our inpatient and outpatient sides, especially in our cancer services,” she said. “We have good net operating margins as well, which means we have money available to reinvest in the hospital, our education programs, and our people.”

She noted that HUP’s bad debt is higher than expected. This occurrence stemmed from an anticipated problem with the EPIC APM billing installation and a new universal claim form introduced this year, which created a delay in getting patient bills mailed out to insurance companies. However, “as planned, we’re catching up and will reduce this factor before the fiscal year ends on June 30.” 

The recently started construction of the South Pavilion expansion clears the way for more outpatient capacity.  Depending on many factors -– including the health-care environment and Penn Medicine’s financial state --  “we plan another project to replace and add new beds to the inpatient services.”  But, she stressed, “we won’t overextend  ourselves financially. We’re doing all of this with a no-regret strategy, only a piece at a time so we can fund the projects without risking our financial stability.” 

‘Big Ideas’ Being Examined

Last month, two ideas were selected as winners in Penn Medicine’s Innovation Tournament,  aka Your Big Idea.  “The presentations were awesome, all focusing on improving the patient experience,” said Judy James, HUP’s associate chief HR officer.

One of the winning ideas proposed the use of kiosks for patient check-ins at clinical practices. “I’m hoping we can expand their functionality  -– potentially make copayments or schedule a new appointment,” Corrigan said.  The second winning idea would allow patients to schedule appointments with Penn doctors online, instead of having to make a phone call.

The end of the tournament does not mean that none of the other submitted ideas will be put into practice, James said.  Garry Scheib, HUP’s executive director, has asked his leadership team to examine all the ideas submitted from HUP for possible implementation. 

Corrigan said that the father of one of the winners who attended the Tournament finale commented on how unique this type of competition is. “He said that not many places ask employees for ideas and then commit resources to do the right thing.”

In other HR news, James said that a new learning management system – which is “very user friendly” – will be brought onboard  some time in late summer to replace Knowledge Link.

She also encouraged employees to visit the Wellfocused site to learn more about losing weight, quitting smoking, becoming active and other healthy lifestyle information. “Penn Medicine is moving towards a healthier workforce.” In fact, the Philadelphia Business Journal recently selected UPHS as one of the ‘Healthiest Employers’ in the Philadelphia area with 5000+ employees. It cites our free annual biometric screenings, gym discounts, as well as many work life balance resources through the “Wellfocused” initiative.


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