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University Hospitals Celebrates History, Good Financial Year

University Hospital's CEO Tom Zenty speaks at the system's annual meeting Saturday night. [photo: Sarah Jane Tribble/ideastream]

by Sarah Jane Tribble

About 2,000 donors and employees gathered at the Cleveland Convention Center Saturday night for University Hospitals' annual meeting. But this wasn't the ordinary suit-and-tie occasion.

It was an all-out party. 

Just past the valet drop, there was a small red carpet where attendees could stop and have their picture taken. The event included well-stocked bars and a live band that later in the evening played a version of the Black-Eyed Pea's song "I Gotta Feeling" 

Attendees watched highlights from University Hospital's 150-year-old history. They witnessed a crowd-pleasing mock operation on stage, watched a choral performance, and heard from hospital leaders like UH Chief Executive Tom Zenty. 

"This was intended to be a conversation about what we have done in the past century and half. How we started in 1866 and how .. we have not deviated much from our mission," Zenty said in a brief interview after speaking on stage. "We were created by the community for the community. We're still very much supported by the community and we're here to take care of the communities that we serve."

On stage, Zenty had called UH a "super-regional system."  Afterwards, Zenty talked a bit of business. 

The system's operating income rose more than 10 percent year-over-year. In 2015, UH earned $93.6 million on $3.29 billion dollars in operating revenue, according to the annual reportreleased before the meeting.

"Last year was a good year financially for us, we focused on efficiency improvements, we focused on integrating the new hospitals that recently just joined University Hospitals," Zenty said. "We focused on making sure we will be integrating those hospitals especially well, but not just the inpatient side. As I just mentioned, the ambulatory component, other outpatient services, home health and the full range of services we provide across our system."

UH now has 18 hospitals, after adding three last year. That's in addition to more than 40 outpatient locations and its home health services. The system also added staff and patients as well as increased its spending on medical research.

"We continue to grow and expand in ways that are not always along traditional lines," he said. 

As the interview ended, the band outside the audotrium geared up for the rest of the evening and began singing "tonight's going to be a good night."