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Profit margins mark a shift in fortune for ‘The MED’

The year is 2010. The beleaguered Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The MED) faces a string of interim administrations, a harrowing deficit of $20 million, and a public image of financial instability and future uncertainty.

The year is 2010. The beleaguered Regional Medical Center at Memphis (The MED) faces a string of interim administrations, a harrowing deficit of $20 million, and a public image of financial instability and future uncertainty.

 Dr. Reginald W. Coopwood

A savvy, new president and CEO, Dr. Reginald W. Coopwood, comes in with innovative ideas and a commitment to engaging forward-thinking individuals to head up top administrative spots. By the end of Dr. Coopwood’s first year, The MED boasted a cool $5 million in profits. As the second year closes, that profit margin had grown to an impressive $17 million. This calls for an all-out, memorable celebration.

“This year’s 2nd Annual MED Night will be a night of revelry and fun as we mark a notable milestone in our growth,” said Tammie Ritchey, vice-president of Development.

“Gone are the days when we are struggling to raise funds just to keep the doors open. Now, our focus is on improving the quality of service and maintaining a level of excellence that will make The MED the hospital of choice for many.”

The Peabody Grand Ballroom will be the setting for “A Soulful Celebration” on Saturday (March 31) at 6 p.m. The classic soul line-up of performers will include: Dennis Edwards and the Temptations Revue, The Four Tops, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis of The Fifth Dimension, and Thelma Houston.

 Tammie Ritchey

Ritchey and The MED Foundation event organizers expect a capacity crowd of 800.

“We were blown away by the success of our first Soulful Celebration last year,” she said. “Every ticket was sold, and the performances were phenomenal. We appreciate local businesses and community sponsors who have made this endeavor so successful.”

The MED was chartered in 1829 and bears the distinction of being Tennessee’s oldest hospital. Besides offering conventional healthcare services provided by medical facilities, The MED is a regional leader in treatment specialization through its Burn Center, Trauma Unit, and its Newborn and High Risk Obstetrics facility.

The MED Foundation has raised tens of millions of dollars since it began in 1986 to support operations through state-of-the-art equipment acquisitions and professional training and development of its medical staff.

“Not only do we raise funds critical to hospital operations, but the foundation shares The MED’s vision and its impact on this region,” said Ritchie. “It is just as important for us to raise awareness and change some long-held perceptions about the hospital.

“The MED is a world-class, acute-care teaching facility which rivals the quality of care provided by private hospitals,” said Ritchie. “Many of the best physicians in the southeast region were trained right here at The MED. Through the administration of Dr. Coopwood and his leadership team, we have been able to remedy our own financial woes. Our future couldn’t be brighter.

“That’s the message we want to get out,” she said. “Our proven quality of care is making The MED the hospital of choice for more and more Mid-Southerners. And that’s worth celebrating.”

Establishing excellence

 “When I first came to The Med, my early goals involved establishing a level of excellence in our product delivery,” said Dr. Coopwood. “That is, the delivery of our services and quality in customer care – this makes us competitive with other medical facilities.”

There was a time, said Dr. Coopwood, when the uninsured were directed to The MED.

“We have a history of providing services to indigent patients. Today, because we are striving to continue improving our product and services, we are making inroads to changing this perception. Our facility is becoming the hospital of choice for many insured consumers. Overcoming perceptions based on past struggles is one of our greatest challenges today.”

According to Dr. Coopwood, President Obama’s healthcare plan has significant implications for medical facilities in Memphis and the southeast region.

“I’ll leave the legalities to be decided by the Supreme Court, but President Obama’s plan has the intention of broadening access to quality healthcare. It would expand medical insurance coverage to everyone. And I truly believe that had we not worked to improve our quality of care, we wouldn’t be so well positioned to benefit from the plan. We’ll continue to work toward making The Med the hospital of choice for the insured.”

(For more information on The MED Foundation, visit www.themedfoundation.org. To inquire about The Soulful Celebration and tickets, call Joy Doss at 901-266-2662, ext. 303.)


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