Health Reform Promises New World for Academic Center

Article excerpt

A study recently published by KPMG Peat Marwick Management Consultants stated: "30-40 percent of today's Academic Health Centers will not survive because of their inability to adapt to the new environment." This is not just a new environment we're talking about. It is a new world.

The 1,342 page, 240,000-word Health Security Plan redefines the business of medical education, research and patient care for our state's academic health center, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Very basically, academic health centers are accumulations of highly specialized programs which require close proximity to hospitals in order to provide clinical instruction, patient care and research. In the areas of access to health care, service delivery and short and long term impact on health, these complex institutions across the nation will quickly lose their ability to compete unless they prepare to strategically realign themselves to respond to the new health care "environment."

In other words, the traditional structures and organizational relationships within academic health centers are no longer effective.

The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center must make definitive changes in order to compete in the new world of health care delivery. Virtually every aspect of our enterprise is being challenged by societal needs, national trends and historical shifts in policy.

This is significant for Oklahoma City and for our state. To gain a perspective of the extent of this significance, it is important to understand the scope of the economic, medical and educational impact of our state's academic health center and teaching hospitals.

From this perspective, we can analyze the specific aspects of health care reform affecting the OU Health Sciences Center and what steps must be taken to successfully deal with these changes.

The objective of the Health Sciences Center is not merely to survive health care reform, but to become one of the leading academic health centers in our nation as we enter the 21st century. The Impact

The economic impact of the business of medical education and health care at the OU Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) on our state is tremendous. As a major institution within the Oklahoma Health Center (which is composed of 16 institutions), the OUHSC is a part of Oklahoma's second largest conglomeration of employment _ second only to Tinker Air Force Base.

An economic analysis commissioned by the Presbyterian Health Foundation assessed the collective economic impact of the Health Center's various institutions and found the total spending impact of the OHC to be $1. …