What a great James Taylor song. When the second largest, not-for-profit, integrated delivery system in the nation decides to commit an entire day to celebrating their progress in the quality and safety arena, this gets North Carolina on my mind! I had the privilege of being the lunchtime plenary speaker at this 5th annual event in Charlotte, NC, not far from the headquarters of this sprawling, two-state system known as Carolinas HealthCare System (CHC). Just to give it a little bit of context, the system has 61,000 employees, 3,000 employed physicians, more than 7,800 beds and in excess of 11 million patient encounters a year. They actively manage the care of 1 million patients in their primary care network alone. It is a primarily a community hospital-based system, so it is reflective of where the country is going.
The senior leaders of the system, including CEO Michael Tarwater, President/COO Joseph Piemont, and EVP/CMO Dr. Roger Ray, were all in the audience for my presentation. They also presented gold, silver, and bronze awards in recognition of outstanding work in quality, safety, and service. I was incredibly impressed with the scope of the awards, their interprofessional teamwork, and the work going on in the ambulatory arena. In their accompanying 2014 value report, called “Excellence through Integration”, they share all the details on the outcomes of their work. This is a system to watch because, given their size, scope, location, community-centeredness, I think they are a bellwether for our progress as a nation. From the podium, I had the privilege to recognize a current JSPH student, Margaret Rudisill, who is studying to receive her Masters in Quality and Safety. I encouraged CHS to send us 100 more students like Margaret!
Finally, to top off this great day, I autographed nearly 200 copies of my book, Demand Better. I was truly honored to be the lunchtime plenary speaker and hope that I was able to instill additional enthusiasm for the mission that they have so comprehensively embraced.