Dr Ora Pescovitz Addresses the Need for More Flexibility in Academic Medical Centers

CEO of the University of Michigan Health System, incoming senior vice president at Eli Lilly & Co

Academic medical centers face challenges as they implement healthcare reform while managing declining reimbursements from Medicare, especially for training residents, Ora Pescovitz, MD, former said. Cuts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have trimmed available research funds, too, she said.

“There’s a lot of pressure on us,” Dr Pescovitz said. Competition is increasing, too, as hospital systems and medical practices consolidate.

“We are simply not flexible enough,” Dr Pescovitz said, in describing how academic medical centers need to change. Academic is doing well with aspects of healthcare reform such as the Patient-Centered Medical Home or the Accountable Care Organization, which involve documentation and measurement.

But academic medicine suffers from too much bureaucracy and slow decision-making in an era when “We have to be increasingly number,” she said.

Some fundamentals are being challenged, Dr Pescovitz said, referring to the discussion of whether medical school should last 3 or 4 years. But there’s progress to be made. “It would be great if we could come up with a way to get more research funding within our health systems,” she said.