It's a Four-Peat!
I was pleased and more than a little proud that for the fourth year in a row, our employees voted UMMC “Best Place to Work” in the Best of Jackson 2019 awards sponsored by the Jackson Free Press. To have been recognized in this way once or even twice was nice, but a “four-peat?” That definitely is cause for celebration.
As I have said in this space and elsewhere, our employees are special, and I mean that in all sincerity. Most of you could work elsewhere, in some cases for more pay or more perks or fewer hassles. But you are here because you believe in our mission, and that what you do every day matters for our students, our patients and for Mississippi.
We are an academic medical center, the only one in Mississippi, and AMCs are special places in our society, too.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, which represents academic medical centers across the country (and coordinates with other health professional associations), AMCs are “a critical component of the U.S. health care system because of their joint missions of patient care, medical research and education to benefit the health care of all.”
Even though they represent only 5 percent of all hospitals, AAMC-member teaching hospitals account nationwide for:
- 24 percent of all inpatient days,
- 21 percent of Medicare inpatient days,
- 25 percent of all Medicaid inpatient days,
- 31 percent of all hospital charity care costs,
- 21 percent of all psychiatric beds,
- 61 percent of all pediatric intensive care beds and
- 71 percent of all Level I trauma centers.
Not only that, two recent medical studies across a range of common medical and surgical conditions and almost all levels of patient severity indicate that patients treated at major teaching hospitals have up to 20 percent higher odds of survival.
And as we well know, UMMC and other AMCs are on “stand-by” around the clock to spring into action in response to emergencies and disasters of any magnitude, and to receive the victims of a disaster or epidemic. The most recent example was our voluntary deployment of a vehicle and staff to North Carolina last September to evacuate patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence.
What’s more, AMCs are the heartbeat of health professions education in the United States. About 75 percent of all residents and other health professions students receive training in AAMC-member teaching hospitals to ensure a high-quality health care workforce. And more than half of all National Institutes of Health extramural grants go to medical schools and teaching hospitals that create the health care discoveries and cures of the future.
In Mississippi, UMMC is an economic engine, with $1.7 billion dollars in annual spending and estimated direct and indirect economic impacts of $2.5 billion. Our activity supports 20,000 jobs in the state and generates $285 million in tax revenue annually. Since only 10.3 percent of our budget comes from taxpayers, we’re one of the state’s best investments.
Even more than most AMCs, we are a “safety net” hospital, caring for the sickest of the sick regardless of their ability to pay. At the same time, we offer Mississippi’s most advanced medical services and its only children’s hospital. But we’re not slowing down. We’re making sustained progress in shifting our culture from “the way we’ve always done it” to one of evidence-based performance, process improvement and high reliability.
You’ve heard all this before, of course, but it bears repeating. And it’s important for our citizens and state leaders to be reminded what a valuable and unique asset they have in this academic medical center. It’s only possible because of your commitment, every day, to those who rely on us; to excellence; and to making A Healthier Mississippi.