With less than a month left in the fiscal year, Brigham and Women’s Hospital continues to keep its financial house in order. Despite vast shifts in the health care environment that have dramatically impacted hospitals throughout the state, BWH continues to meet its budget while maintaining a strong focus on quality patient care.
Yet, the challenges facing this and all hospitals will persist into the foreseeable future. All 50 State hospital associations recently sent a letter to every member of the House and Senate requesting BBA relief. Absent a full recovery of prior cuts, many hospitals will continue to balance precariously on the brink of financial viability. At BWH, fair payments for services must serve as the foundation for our future growth.
The demand for our services has never been greater. Even as we retool our patient floors and update our operating rooms and diagnostic labs, the number of patients seeking our care continues to increase. The number of admissions has grown four percent this year and, in spite of rising acuity, we have maintained an average length of stay of 5.2 days. This growth in volume and acuity, coupled with the national nursing shortage, puts extraordinary pressure on our caregivers, support staff and administrators as we seek innovative approaches to meet the current demands.
Moving into Fiscal Year 2001, we fully expect this level of demand to be sustained. We will continue to match resources with this demand in a manner that strengthens our position and amplifies our ability to provide exceptional care. It is our additional hope that we can refocus our efforts to move non-tertiary services to Faulkner Hospital and the backfill BWH beds with higher acuity services. Our Chief Financial Officer, Roger Deshaies, has summarized our financial status in this issue of PSU and I commend the article to you as a very readable, yet realistic appraisal.
The next year will bring added innovation in patient care, teaching
and research. We will bring about new approaches to surgery, including the daVinci system of robotic surgery that has just won regulatory approval for certain procedures. We will continue to stretch the boundaries of medical knowledge with innovative clinical and basic science research. We will continue to train the next generation of medical leaders who will move forward, empowered by the knowledge gained within these walls to positively impact the future of medicine.
I am exceptionally optimistic that FY 2001 could be a watershed year for this institution. With your support and ongoing dedication to the principals of quality care, we will continue to extend the limits of our profession.
Chief Medical Officer