Cleveland Clinic's strategy for next 5 years: 4 takeaways

In the health system's annual state of the union address, Cleveland Clinic President and CEO Tom Mihaljevic, MD, outlined several key initiatives the system will implement to fight rising healthcare costs and improve care for its growing patient base.

Four things to know:

1. The health system's operating income took a 19 percent hit in 2018, dropping to $266 million, according to financial documents obtained by Dr. Mihaljevic said in his speech that the decrease was due in part to skyrocketing care costs and a decline in reimbursement rates.

2. To fight those forces, Dr. Mihaljevic said the system plans to continue its focus on operational efficiencies, particularly in the new hospitals it acquired in January. However, he stated that the Cleveland Clinic's primary focus will always be on providing excellent care to the system's growing patient base. Dr. Mihaljevic said Cleveland Clinic will double the amount of patients it sees during the next several years by investing in new infrastructure and expanding the system's digital healthcare service offerings, like telemedicine.

"We feel that we have an ethical need to expand the quality of care that we know how to provide to as many people as possible. In tomorrow's healthcare, the biggest change in our strategy is to become a proactive healthcare organization," he said during his address, according to

3. As the threats of burnout and workforce shortages continue to mount, Dr. Mihaljevic said the system will continue to advocate on behalf of its employees to improve their quality of life. Cleveland Clinic raised its minimum wage to $14 per hour in January and plans to raise it to $15 per hour by 2020, he said.

4. Another area the health system will focus on is employee safety, as violence against healthcare professionals continues to increase across the nation. In 2018, Cleveland Clinic confiscated 30,000 weapons from patients and has added panic buttons to employees' badges, among other safety initiatives.

"[Violence against employees is] an epidemic nobody talks about. It's been getting worse. This has not happened overnight," Dr. Mihaljevic said.

To access the full report, click here.

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