Q&A with Dr. Ed Sabanegh, president of the main campus and regional hospital system, Cleveland Clinic

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Q&A with Dr. Ed Sabanegh, president of the main campus and regional hospital system, Cleveland Clinic

Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | August 18, 2020
From the August 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


The second thing for me is the need to make a big place feel small. We’re a very large network of hospitals, but it is really important that when you come in, you feel like you’re in your family doctor’s office. You should expect that we know your name, and why you are here. We should demonstrate how much we care in everything we do. Bottom line: we need to treat you like you are in our own family.

HCB News: What attracts staff to Cleveland Clinic?
ES: We strive to “keep the main thing — the main thing.” In other words, our focus is on safety and quality. Every leadership team meeting starts with a discussion about how we’re doing on quality and safety. While financials will always be important in healthcare, if you don’t focus on quality, safety and experience right, you will not do well as a system. I think this is the “secret sauce” that attracts the best in the nation and the world to join us.

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HCB News: What is the makeup of patients at Cleveland Clinic?
ES: We are the largest outpatient Medicaid provider in the state and second largest inpatient provider in the state. We are a not-for-profit organization and we’re privileged to take care of all different populations. Managed care and commercial makes up about one-third of our patients. Medicare and Medicaid account for almost two-thirds of our patients.

We take care of all patients from birth up through our geriatric population. Roughly 30 percent of our patients are over 65. Our patients come from all 50 states and throughout the world.

HCB News: Has there been any increase in a particular disease or diseases in recent years among patients that you’re particularly concerned about?
ES: There are two. Behavioral health is the most concerning to me. For the past number of years, we’ve seen accelerating growth in those needs. We’re seeing widespread increases in our state in alcohol and substance abuse paired with reduced access nationwide in community mental health walk-in clinics. Behavioral health needs to stay at the forefront of our thoughts and plans for the future. It is a common element in many chronic diseases.

The second is chronic diseases. We continue to see an increase in the incidence of high blood pressure, obesity, and cardiac disease in our community. These will remain a major focus for us.

HCB News: How do you predict healthcare may change due to the lessons learned during the pandemic?
ES: It’s important we preserve the things we cannot compromise on — the focus on safety, quality and experience. We also need to keep care affordable and remember to take great care of our caregivers.

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