George Washington University Hospital is a leader in the healthcare industry. It is rooted in the fundamentals of patient care, employee advancement along with research and development. The hospitals managerial structure and function foster growth for its employees, provides state of the art care, and services for patients. The facility uses all internal and external factors to its benefit allowing for the development of one of the premier healthcare providers in the nation.
Mission and Values
George Washington University Hospital (GW), located in Washington, D. C., is rooted in tradition, history and excellence. Since its conception in 1824 as Columbian College, it has grown and developed into a leading international research facility. In 1904, Columbian University Medical School and hospital were rededicated The George Washington University Hospital (“Defining Medicine”, 2017). Since its inception, GW has been at the forefront in advancement and delivery of the finest medical care focusing on complex, research-based care.
The mission of the George Washington University Hospital is to provide the highest quality healthcare, advanced technology and world-class service to our patients in an academic medical center dedicated to education and research (“Defining Medicine”, 2017).
Together, we will pursue our passion for healing, discovering medical breakthroughs and improving lives. While developing tomorrow’s leaders, we will earn our community’s trust and recognition as the first choice for complex medical care. (“Defining Medicine”, 2017).
GW is a 385-bed quaternary level care facility which employees over 2,300 healthcare professionals, more than 800 medical teaching staff and volunteers who donated over 12,300 volunteer hours (“Defining medicine”, 2017). GW is a teaching and research facility comprising the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. In 2016 GW saw over 450,000 visitors, 19,937 admissions, 55 kidney transplants, a combined 25,892 surgeries, 74,680 emergency room visits, 3,395 newborn deliveries and 125,995 outpatient visits (“Defining Medicine”, 2017). GW is a forerunner in medical advancement, research and teaching. In this age of healthcare reform, what does GW do to make their hospital continue to flourish?
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In 1997, GW Hospital became jointly owned and operated by a partnership between George Washington University and a subsidiary of Universal Health Services (UHS) (“Defining Medicine”, 2017). UHS is a health management company and one of the largest in the US with more than 350 acute care hospitals, behavioral health facilities and ambulatory centers across the U.S., Puerto Rico and the U.K (“About UHS”, 2018). UHS is a publicly held corporation traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Belonging to a multi-hospital system can lead to improvements in cost efficiency. A large size alliance can likely obtain materials and supplies at lower prices, contributing to lower production cost and improvements in cost efficiency (Granderson, 2011). In a 2007 study by Rosko et al, found that membership in centralized and decentralized multi-hospital systems helped hospitals to operate more cost efficiently, while hospitals in independent systems operated more cost inefficiently (Granderson, 2011). According to Kimberley Russo, CEO of GW hospital “Being a part of UHS allows us to work with our corporate entity, as well as acute care hospitals across the nation to collaborate on best practice quality, patient safety and service measures” (“Defining Medicine”, 2017).
GW is a large employer of healthcare professionals and medical staff. They partner not only with the GW school of medicine and Health Sciences, but also with the GW medical Faculty Association, the largest independent physician group with over 750 physicians covering 52 specialties in Washington (“Defining Medicine”, 2017). In a climate of short-term employment in healthcare, how does GW keep their employees engaged and loyal? GW believes that employees are the heart of their organization and is committed to supporting them in career advancement and growth. GW has three programs established to help foster employee growth and development:
- Continuing education benefits: Employees can choose either tuition reimbursement directly related to job responsibilities or part of curriculum requirements for a degree in a job-related field or for tuition at George Washington University.
- GW Nursing Scholars Program: Provide advanced education and tuition reimbursement to the hospital’s registered nurses and those aspiring to become a nurse. The RN-BSN track covers 100% tuition and for aspiring nurses with a degree in another field tuition is covered at 50%.
- Advancement within GW Hospital: Ability to transfer within the hospital to either further the employee’s skill set or promotions within their current area. In 2016, 250 employees were either transferred to other departments or promoted. (“Defining Medicine”, 2017).
Commitment to employee growth and development fosters a loyalty among a hospital’s employees. Allied health professionals are more likely to stay with an organization when they are able to attain higher levels of competency, have professional development opportunities and good peer support and the organization has a continuous learning culture (Dodd et al 2009, Wilson, 2015).
As a teaching hospital, research and development is vital to the success and health of the organization. GW as a leader in research and development attracts physicians and educators to its facility to further their careers and research goals. Currently, 35 clinical trials are open in 9 different clinical specialties (“Defining Medicine”, 2017).
GW is very involved with the community, collaborating with multiple entities in the DC area. They provide community access to healthcare offering mobile screening and the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences works cooperatively with community clinics enabling medical students, health science students and residents to assist with primary care services (“Defining Medicine”, 2017). GW has either collaborated, supported or worked with multiple and varied organizations within the D.C. area to foster community healthcare awareness. Social and community prominence is at the forefront of GW business strategy and activities.
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In August 2018, Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a partnership with GW to build a new hospital, bringing services to southeast D.C. This is the first public-private partnership formed for the purpose of better meeting the healthcare needs of District residents (“About UHS”, 2018). This will bring state of the art healthcare to an area in need. This partnership involves social, economic and political external factors.
Technology is an integral factor in the care of GW patients. In an interview with Kimberley Russo, “Technology is helping us provide more effective and efficient care, as well as reduce the impact on the patient’s recovery time” (“Defining Medicine”, 2017).
Healthcare today is an ever changing, complex endeavor. What is right for one facility might not be correct for another. Healthcare leaders need to have keen sense regarding not only the world around them, but also more importantly what is going on at home. Many great ideas and managerial thought is obtained from others, but if you do not understand the idiosyncrasies of your clientele, how can you provide the best available care. The theories are generally the same, its how they are implemented that matters. In looking at how GW functions, they are people driven and motivated. They are committed to the wellbeing and advancement of their staff, focusing on staff improvement to maintain happy, loyal employees who deliver state of the art care. This decreases turnover and makes for a very educated working staff. This is an amazing program, but the problem is that most hospitals cannot afford it to the extent that GW offers.
GW involvement in the community is paramount to their success. They are transparent about their goals, mission and values. GW is a private non-profit organization that is part of a larger publicly traded healthcare management company. This enables them to work cost effectively, grow and focus on research and development. GW sponsors, partners and supports over 22 community health organizations and projects.
GW is an organizational structure that functions at a very high level. I did not find any areas within that structure that were not working at top performance. GW CEO, Kimberley Russo’s philosophy is “if you listen to your employees and you listen to your patients, you will be the best-in-class” (“Defining Medicine”, 2017). This is true not just for GW, but for all hospitals and something, administrators should live by.
- About UHS | UHS. (2018). Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://www.uhsinc.com/about-uhs/
- David, G. (2003). The Convergence between For-Profit and Nonprofit Hospitals in the United States. SSRN Electronic Journal.
- Day, G. E., Minichiello, V., & Madison, J. (2006). Nursing morale: what does the literature reveal? Australian Health Review, 30(4), 516.
- Defining Medicine. (2017, April). Retrieved October 12, 2018, from https://www.gwhospital.com/sites/gwhospital.com/files/atoms/files/GW_Hospital_Defining_Medicine_April_2017.pdf
- Dodd, J., Saggers, S., & Wildly, H. (2009). Retention in the allied health workforce: Boomers, Generation X and generation Y. J Allied Health, 38, 215-19.
- Granderson, G. (2010). The impacts of hospital alliance membership, alliance size, and repealing certificate of need regulation, on the cost efficiency of non-profit hospitals. Managerial and Decision Economics, 32(3), 159-173.
- Wilson, N. A. (2015). Factors that affect job satisfaction and intention to leave of allied health professionals in a metropolitan hospital. Australian Health Review, 39(3), 290.
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