About The Study

Industry: Healthcare

  • Management Services
    • Operations
    • Revitalization


The George Washington University Hospital (“GWUH”), prior to 1997, was a 464 bed non-profit University teaching hospital owned and operated by The George Washington University (“GWU”).  GWUH had recurrent annual operating losses, declining market share, low patient satisfaction scores and highly dissatisfied staff with significant turnover.  Universal Health Services, Inc, (“UHS”) a for-profit hospital company, acquired 80% of GWUH in 1997 from GWU with a commitment to build a replacement hospital. The joint venture partnership provided UHS with full operational oversight and GWU with full clinical and academic oversight of GWUH.

Dr. Richard Becker, a GWU Anesthesiologist and Critical Care Medicine physician leader, became Medical Director of GWUH in 1997 and then CEO of GWUH in 2004.

Summary of Execution and Results

  • Implemented clinical, operational and financial performance improvements which changed the reputation of the hospital from underutilized and unknown for any specific specialty to one of the region’s leading medical centers for minimally invasive medicine and surgery as well as overall high quality and service in all clinical care delivery.  GWUH became the destination hospital for the White House, Congress and DC’s Diplomatic community and is one of the most profitable hospitals in the UHS portfolio.
  • Increased operating margin from 7% to 13% and grew market share from 11% to 14%.
  • Implemented a full restructuring of the medical staff and established and grew new hospitalist service.
  • Developed and implemented plan to assist GWUH affiliated medical practices in their growth, resulting in 70% increase in the hospital’s average daily census over 4 years.
  • Labor efficiency dramatically improved with FTE / Adjusted Occupied Patient Bed decreasing from 5.0 to 3.9, with improvements in employee engagement metrics.
  • Restructured and reestablished clinical quality metrics with improved processes and results moving GWUH to top tier performance in most quality metrics.
  • Improved satisfaction scores for patients, physicians and employees:
    • Patient satisfaction increased from 3rd to 2nd quartile as we engaged the organization in the Baldrige Journey for excellence in all areas.
    • Physician engagement increased from 30th to 75th percentile as a result of better communications, alignment and direct efforts to improve their experiences with the GWUH hospital and network.
    • Employee engagement significantly increased to top quartile with improved communications, focused efforts to improve work experience and direct engagement of staff around specific department related projects.
  • Lead role in planning, construction and transition for new 371 bed replacement hospital.  Transition and transfer to new hospital uneventful and completed in August, 2002.
  • Successful in reducing medical malpractice claims and settlements, dropping reserve requirements by 50% over 4 years.
  • Lead post 9/11 hospital emergency planning that resulted in the formation of the GWU Center for Emergency Preparedness, GWU’s comprehensive disaster management institute.
  • Developed GWUH International Medicine Program which yielded $30 million annual net revenue.
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