Demonstrating the fortitude to address a challenging healthcare environment, president and C.E.O. Steven D. Sonenreich has led Mount Sinai Medical Center to financial stability and successfully reinforced its image as a healthcare leader. The most recent audit posted on March 26 reports nearly $14 million in profit for 2009. Mount Sinai experienced an overall 5 percent growth in revenue from $497 million in 2008 to $524 million in 2009, while controlling a targeted 1 percent increase in expenses. As of the end of 2009, the combined medical center and Foundation reported 108 days cash on hand.
Heart Care with the Best Results
According to the Agency for Healthcare Administration Statistics, Mount Sinai had been the region's leader in heart care for more than two decades. However, this lead began to shrink in 2008. To achieve success, Sonenreich recruited Dr. Joseph Lamelas in 2008 to join the hospital as a chief of Cardiac Surgery. A pioneer in minimally invasive valve surgery, Dr. Lamelas is the most successful cardiac surgeon in the tri-county area. His mortality rate is 67.5% below the expected rate of mortality as forecast by the state of Florida based on his volume and complexity of procedures.
The new cardiac surgery team attracted 51 percent more patients growing from 430 cardiac surgeries in 2008 to 649 in 2009 and instituted efficiencies that continue to save the hospital thousands of dollars per procedure. The infection rate is significantly below national benchmarks and length of stay is cut in half. Patients are back on their feet in less than two weeks. Even Canadian Prime Minister, Danny Williams of Newfoundland and Labrador, chose Dr. Lamelas to fix his heart last month saying, "This was my heart, my choice, and my health."
The hospital made even greater strides in recent months with the inauguration of the Mount Sinai Heart Institute in partnership with New York's Columbia University, the only Ivy League collaboration in South Florida of its kind. Dr. Gervasio Lamas, Chief of Cardiology at Mount Sinai, collaborated with Dr. Allan Schwartz, Chief of Cardiology at Columbia University, for almost a year in order to build the framework that made this partnership possible.
Mount Sinai was also faced with challenges in diagnostic imaging, where the radiology residency pass rate had declined on professional board exams and the department was mired in inefficiency.
When encouraged to increase the number of subspecialists in radiology and improve overall care, the then existing radiology group fought back, giving 30 days notice of a mass resignation.
At this critical juncture, Sonenreich reacted quickly to redefine the department of radiology, which resulted in the recruitment of Dr. Jeffrey Neitlich to serve as the chair of the Department of Radiology. Since then, patient care has improved significantly and the pass rate on professional board exams has shot to 100 percent. Mount Sinai's imaging volume increased nearly 10 percent in 2009.
Breaking New Ground
Next, Sonenreich expanded the hospital's surgical oncology program, acquired the da Vinci Robot and put the infrastructure in place for Mount Sinai to gain designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. There are only 16 accredited comprehensive centers in the entire state of Florida.
"Mount Sinai's medical staff is truly a notch above the rest," said Tony Carvalho, president of the Florida Safety Net Hospital Alliance. "The physicians who choose teaching hospitals care about future of medicine; they want to be challenged; they want to be innovative."
Mount Sinai experienced further strategic success with the opening of its Freestanding Emergency Room in Aventura, Florida. Last year alone, more than 13,000 people have sought care at the freestanding ER in Aventura which made a significant contribution to the hospital's revenue stream.
Focus on Philanthropy
Sonenreich emphasizes that Mount Sinai's donors are a critical component of its success. By personally reaching out to donors, Sonenreich is able to share Mount Sinai's vision and give them a true stake in its future.
Philanthropist Donald Golden remarked, "I support Mount Sinai because I believe in its mission and trust Steve Sonenreich to put the hospital and its future above anything else. I know how important Mount Sinai is to our community and donors like me are willing to make significant philanthropic gifts to provide the equipment and support the services the hospital needs to remain viable."
Michael Adler, Chairman of the Mount Sinai Board of Directors said, "During his eight and a half years at the helm of Mount Sinai Medical Center, Sonenreich has positioned the landmark teaching hospital for impressive growth. The winners are the patients of Mount Sinai and the South Florida community."