Health consortium VP defines future direction for academic medical centers

Published August 20, 2012

We do our best caring for the sickest of the sick, and should plan for the future accordingly.  This was the somewhat provocative and engaging message of Thomas M. Robertson, vice president, business strategies and tactics, University HealthSystem Consortium, when he spoke on Aug. 15 at a strategic planning symposium for the Keck Medical Center of USC.  With more than 50 attendees, the symposium was well-attended by the Strategic Planning Steering Committee and invited guests.

Robertson (right) acknowledged that for academic medical centers to thrive under health care reform and a rapidly evolving payor landscape, they will need to partner with community providers to better manage the care of the sickest patients. He described the “sweet spot” for academic medical centers as providing cutting-edge care for patients with rare diseases, more complicated conditions and more severe illness. These patients are often transferred from community hospitals, or electively travel from more than 50 miles away. “This is the core business of academic medical centers; we need to nurture this while learning to better manage episodes of care,” he said.

University HealthSystem Consortium is an alliance of 116 academic medical centers and 276 of their affiliated hospitals representing approximately 90 percent of the nation’s non-profit academic medical centers.