New UAMS Chancellor Attempts to End Losses

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Nov. 30, 2009 12:00 am  

Dr. Daniel Rahn says UAMS has "to operate within available resources, and in the recent past we have had expenses outstripping revenue in a number of arenas."

Still, Johnson said he was not shocked that UAMS was having financial trouble because most hospitals are in a similar situation. 

Seeking an Operating Margin
After 23 years at UAMS, Wilson retired at the end of October. Rahn, who had been president of the Medical College of Georgia, said he has plans to stop the bleeding.

He has asked all sections of the campus to "constrain spending to the extent possible to create some operating margin."

Rahn said no pay cuts were planned, but overtime would be reduced.

Rahn also said UAMS was going to take a hard look at medical tests that are ordered, such as X-rays, to see if they're really necessary.

He projects cost-cutting moves could save the hospital $3 million a month.

"I think it's possible to both reduce the costs and to improve the performance at the same time," Rahn said.

He will be on the lookout for more revenue streams, which might include the growth of its clinic program and securing more grants.

Just before Rahn arrived, UAMS received its largest award ever - a $19.9 million grant from the National Institutes of Health for a Clinical & Translational Science Award. It will be paid out over five years and will help push basic science discoveries into speedier treatments and cures for patients.

At the end of October, UAMS' internationally known multiple myeloma program announced it would receive a $19.5 million grant over five years from the National Cancer Institute. The money will allow scientists to continue working on treatments for multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

Johnson said he thought UAMS would rebound and improve under Rahn's leadership.

"Even though we're having a difficult time, we have to continue to try and progress in the right way," he said. "The Med Center is the premier hospital in the state. We have to take care of a lot of indigent patients.  ... At the same time, we have to be prudent with taxpayers' [money] and even with the money the Med Center makes."



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