As Cleveland Clinic celebrates its centennial year in 2021, CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic, MD, unveiled a new mission statement intended to last the next 100 years, during the annual State of the Clinic address.
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“Our mission has served the community for generations, yet our role has evolved with the passage of time,” Dr. Mihaljevic said in a virtual address to Cleveland Clinic caregivers worldwide. “As stewards of this organization, we carry out the will of our founders to reach for higher and nobler ends. So today, I am privileged to unveil our new mission statement for the next 100 years. ‘Caring for life, researching for health and educating those who serve.’ It stays true to our past, encompasses the present and outlines the future.”
Throughout 2021, centennial celebrations will focus on past, present and future with a theme of “the Future of Healthcare Since 1921.”
The past year brought unexpected challenges, as COVID-19 quickly grew into a global pandemic. Caregivers stepped up to face the challenge, Dr. Mihaljevic said, offering to be trained in new specialty areas, supporting colleagues through difficult moments and inspiring one another with acts of heroism.
“Our caregivers are truly selfless,” he said, adding that they “donned (their) gowns, masks and shields, and went into battle against COVID-19. Each of us will therefore remember this time not for coronavirus, but how we responded to it.”
While difficult, the pandemic was a “unifying moment for our global healthcare community,” he said. Additionally, researchers are making faster discoveries and clinicians are taking care of more patients virtually.
Throughout the pandemic, Cleveland Clinic’s priorities have remained unchanged — caring for patients, caregivers, the organization and the community.
Safety, quality and patient experience are fundamental to Cleveland Clinic’s mission, in addition to offering new ways to access care, such as self-scheduling, remote monitoring to detect symptoms promptly, and virtual visits, which were used in one out every five patients served in 2020.
“To become the best place to receive care, we must set new standards for excellence and sustain them. It takes hard work, but this is part of our identity,” said Dr. Mihaljevic. “We strive to deliver the same high-quality care and experience at every location, making us One Cleveland Clinic. We owe this to our patients.”
Over the past two years, Cleveland Clinic has increased the duration of fully paid leave for new parents; expanded programs for wellness and self-care; added more channels to collect caregiver feedback; and increased the frequency of transparent communication.
In 2020, thousands of caregivers participated in our Lift Every Voice forums to address the impact of racism and bias. Based on caregiver suggestions, Cleveland Clinic is hiring and developing more leaders who represent the diversity of our teams, and have already begun to close this gap. Also, a new council on Inclusion and Racial Equity has been formed to recommend priorities to strengthen diversity and prevent bias.
“Diversity is our strength. Recognizing this allows us to deliver better care,” said Dr. Mihaljevic. “We understand that racial disparities exist. They are harmful to people’s health and require us to take action. Cleveland Clinic strongly pledges to do our part to end structural racism in healthcare and lift every voice in the process. The commitment is to have a workforce as diverse as the communities we serve, across the globe.”
Though the financial strains of 2020 were dramatic, Cleveland Clinic avoided pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs. Instead the health system saved money by postponing capital projects, forgoing raises and using time off. Like many hospitals, Cleveland Clinic accepted funding through federal programs to help ensure the provision of care. Including CARES Act funding, Cleveland Clinic ended the year with a modest operating gain, though behind our budgeted plan.
Cleveland Clinic has grown into a team of 70,000 caregivers worldwide and has set a goal to double the number of patients we serve by 2024.
In Northeast Ohio, the health system saw more than 2.4 million patients in 2020. Cleveland Clinic care is extending to Stark County, as Mercy Medical Center is set to become a full member of the Cleveland Clinic health system this year. And Cleveland Clinic London is planning to open its outpatient facility in September 2021 and the 184-bed hospital in January 2022.
“The pandemic highlighted the importance of community health. It is clear our communities can only be safe and healthy when every person in them is safe and healthy,” said Dr. Mihaljevic. “Our goal is to create the healthiest communities for everyone.”
Continuous care is the future of creating healthier communities. We are building programs to:
Cleveland Clinic announced record community benefit – $1.16 billion – while partnering with those who share our commitment. Cleveland Clinic worked with partners to install low-cost broadband internet for our neighbors and will team up with Meijer to address the availability of fresh food for residents in Fairfax.
“Cleveland Clinic’s vision is to become the best place to receive care, and the best place to work in healthcare,” Dr Mihaljevic said. “There has never been a greater awareness of what makes Cleveland Clinic shine. And we are shining brighter than we have ever before.”