Town Hall Questions & Answers

Town Hall Questions

  • Academic Enterprise Town Hall 6/26/19 Broadcast

  • Question 1 from Academic Enterprise Town Hall Meeting on 6/26/2019:

    Please provide information regarding the Academic Enterprise Service Center.


    Response from Charles P. Mouton, MD, MS, MBA (originally shared as an email to the Academic Enterprise on July 3):

    I am writing in hopes of easing the concerns that many of you have expressed regarding planned changes to the Academic Enterprise’s (AE) Administrative Support structure. The first recommendation, creating an AE Service Center, is focused on the efficiency and accuracy of transactional activities, as discussed at my recent town hall. Establishment of the AE Service Center will take place on Sept. 1. We are also assessing the Administrative Service Group (ASG) model to increase efficiencies, clarify roles and consolidate responsibilities of ASG support to Chairs, Center Directors, faculty and staff. We will keep you updated on the progress of this initiative.

    As shared on several occasions, the implementation plan for these changes does not include a large-scale reduction in administrative positions or a major layoff of employees. AE leadership, in fact, continues to believe we can achieve higher levels of efficiency in administrative services through attrition, closure of some vacant positions and by repositioning some employees within the AE.

    Let me assure you that no mass layoffs are planned as part of this initiative. As we develop, launch and transition to this “business hub” model, AE administrative staff members may be required to learn and perform new processes or move into new roles. Reporting relationships may change as may actual office space assignments, but laying off staff is not part of this plan. If we discover that we can maintain or even improve services with fewer staff, we will manage that through attrition, not with a layoff.

    As I discussed in my recent town hall and shared in a May 11 e-mail message from Loren Skinner and me, the AE Service Center will be comprised of three separate teams that will be responsible for the following transactions: 1) travel and entertainment, 2) procurement and 3) human resources transactions. Work teams led by Vanessa Hernandez (travel and entertainment), Andy McNees (procurement) and Alice Oberholtzer (human resources) are currently working with staff, IT, etc. to ensure systems and processes are in place that will enable these teams to be successful.

    The President’s Office implemented a similar Service Center initiative late last summer. There were adjustments that had to be made, but within the first six months, the President’s Office “service center” model demonstrated better service, increased efficiencies and cost savings, and affected employees settled in and are thriving in their new roles.

    We believe that the AE Service Center will allow us to provide better, more efficient services not only within the Academic Enterprise, but also across the university. We are grateful to have your support as we roll out this initiative.

    If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at (409) 772-4793.

  • Question 2 from Academic Enterprise Town Hall Meeting on 6/26/2019:

    I am unable to attend the upcoming Town Hall and would like to inquire that as the plans to "enhance and strengthen" the Clinical Scribe Program at UTMB move forward if there will be an opportunity for increased number of scribes to allow for at least one dedicated scribe for APPs per clinic that are currently utilizing scribes? With the current plan to increase the number of independent sessions for APPs, I propose that scribe use could assist in decreasing encounter close time, "pajama time" and potentially increase RVUs and provider satisfaction. I also feel strongly that they can increase patient satisfaction and the clinical experience. Please advise as to the thoughts on this matter.

    The scribes that we have been fortunate enough to work with have proven to be valuable members of the healthcare team and have improved clinic flow and contributed to keeping schedules on time. They have improved provider satisfaction and have benefited patient care as well. I have had many patients express satisfaction that they know I will be paying attention to them instead of the computer; they appreciate that we are making an effort to improve their experience. Thank-you to Faculty Group Practice and the Office of the Provost for this initiative!

    Response from Aaron Bridges:

    We are happy to hear about the positive experiences the scribe program brings to both our patients and providers. The scribe program has shown many of the positive results mentioned including increase patient satisfaction, increase productivity, and decreased pajama time. When initially developing the scribe program it was important to ensure the program could increase revenue enough to cover the cost of a scribe. A model similar to this can be established for APP’s. Potential components of the model could include having a minimum number of slots available to a provider when working with a scribe (e.g. 10 slots per session). In most cases this will require an additional 1-2 slots above a standard clinic template. APP’s are an important part of the clinical enterprise and play an integral role in patient access. As noted inyour question, it is important for us to increase the independence of APPs and provide efficient support. We will review our current recruitment strategy for scribes, and ensure we have the capacity to provide these services to APP’s if requested. To make an official request for a scribe, please speak with your Department Chair and Administrator.

  • Question from Institutional Town Hall Meeting on 9/14/2018

    Dr. Callender, it's been some years since UTMB joined the Texas Medical Center. What were the perceived benefits to UTMB going into that move, and do you think we have realized any of them? Are you satisfied with the level of engagement UTMB has with the Texas Medical Center today, and do you think our interest and engagement is reciprocated?

    Response from Dr. David L. Callender:

    Our move to join the Texas Medical Center has been beneficial. Because of this affiliation, UTMB has been invited to participate in numerous meetings and conferences related to growth and development of health care in the Houston/Galveston region and throughout Texas. We've also been introduced to many opportunities for collaborations in research, education and patient care, some of which have already moved forward; others are under consideration now. Our membership provides us a seat at the table, and we are an integral part of major discussions and developments around the future of health care in a way that was not available to us before. We pay nothing to be a part of the Texas Medical Center, and the membership has proven to be of tremendous value to us.