State of the Clinic: In 2021, Cleveland Clinic Served the Most Patients in its History

In annual address, CEO, President Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., cited successes, challenges of 2021 and outlined upcoming goals, projects, future of healthcare

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Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., delivers the annual State of the Clinic. (Photo courtesy of Cleveland Clinic.)

Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., delivered the annual State of the Clinic address today, outlining the successes and challenges of 2021 – the hospital’s 100th year.

Speaking directly to the health system’s 70,000-plus employees worldwide, Dr. Mihaljevic praised the Cleveland Clinic family for staying committed to the organization’s mission despite facing one of the most challenging years healthcare has experienced.

“As the centennial of Cleveland Clinic draws to a close, we continue to face the greatest healthcare crisis in generations. Present conditions are pushing hospitals to the breaking point,” Dr. Mihaljevic said. “We have never cared for so many critically ill patients with COVID-19. Most of them are not vaccinated. Their suffering could have been prevented, and that knowledge is hard on our teams, who are short-staffed and weary.

“Caregivers shoulder a burden that no one else is prepared to do. And you do it for every single patient, caring for them as you would a loved one. I admire our caregivers and respect your sacrifices.”

Despite the pandemic, 2021 yielded Cleveland Clinic’s strongest financial performance and the highest clinical activity ever recorded in its history. Total operating revenue reached $12.4 billion, with an operating income of $746 million. The health system performed 10.4 million outpatient visits – a 17% increase from 2020 – and more than 22,800 COVID-19 admissions.

Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., delivers the annual State of the Clinic. (Photo courtesy of Cleveland Clinic.)

“Every life could benefit from the care we provide. Touching more lives is our responsibility, and it supports our future,” Dr. Mihaljevic said. “When we perform well, it gives us the resources to reinvest – into our mission, our caregivers and our care.”

Philanthropy also has made a sizable impact on the hospital’s ability to fulfill its mission. The Power of Every One campaign came to a close in 2021 – exceeding its $2 billion goal by raising nearly $2.6 billion. The generosity of donors from every state and around the world built a campus for higher learning, endowed roles for scientists, fed caregivers and their families, and funded scientific breakthroughs.

Throughout the pandemic, Cleveland Clinic’s priorities have remained unchanged – caring for patients, caregivers, the organization and the community.

Caring for Patients

At Cleveland Clinic, patient care is a lifelong commitment guided by safety, quality and great patient experience. The goal is to be the undisputed best place for care in the world.

“We are absolutely committed to eliminating (serious safety events),” Dr. Mihaljevic said. “This is not a lofty goal. It can be measured with unfiltered transparency. We must raise awareness by starting every conversation with safety.”

As Cleveland Clinic looks to the future, its mission will remain the same as it’s been since 1921: “Provide the best care possible. Invent it through research and innovation. Then, share the best care with the world.”

Caring for Caregivers

Cleveland Clinic’s goal is to become the best place to work in healthcare. In 2021, Cleveland Clinic invested in caregivers by raising pay to be fair, equitable and competitive, and offering the leading benefits package in healthcare. Gifts of gratitude were offered to caregivers as a new way to celebrate their extraordinary service and dedication during the pandemic.

“We are used to emergencies in this profession,” he said. “But we have never been asked to handle a crisis for two years – at work, and at home.”

Unfortunately, in the midst of this upheaval, violence toward caregivers has increased. Caregivers spoke up, allowing for an increased police presence, improved weapon screening and a program for safe escort.

Caring for the Organization

“The most common question I am asked is, ‘Where will Cleveland Clinic go next?’ To me, it is not about where, but how we will grow. We build, partner and innovate with technology,” Dr. Mihaljevic said. “This year, we are funding $1.3 billion in projects. Nearly half of that will be used to renew our current facilities.”

In 2022, projects include:

  • the opening of Cleveland Clinic London hospital
  • on main campus, construction of the first integrated neurological hospital
  • the opening of Mentor Hospital
  • expansion of Cole Eye Institute
  • renovation of Fairview Hospital
  • expansion of Cleveland Clinic Weston’s bed tower
  • the opening of a new oncology center in Abu Dhabi

Further investments in research can prevent disease. “Cleveland Clinic has the vision to make these discoveries,” he said. “We have always prepared tomorrow’s caregivers to deliver the best care.”

Examples include: studies by the Global Center for Pathogen and Human Health Research investigating viruses, cancers and the links between the two; a partnership with IBM to employ disease data; a long-term brain study to prevent neurological disease; a bionic arm that allows the wearer to think, move and feel naturally; and a novel breast cancer vaccine, now in clinical trials.

Caring for Community

“Cleveland Clinic heals, hires and invests locally,” Dr. Mihaljevic said. “Our goal is to create the healthiest communities for everyone.”

As part of a commitment to improve the communities it calls home, Cleveland Clinic contributed $1.3 billion in community benefit — the most in its history.

The prevention of childhood lead poisoning is Cleveland Clinic’s top community initiative in 2022, pledging $52.5 million to identify and remove harmful sources of lead exposure from Cleveland homes.

Additional community efforts are focusing on:

  • Infant mortality. Black babies in America are four times more likely to die before their first birthday, while their mothers do not get the support they need and suffer more complications. Cleveland Clinic is addressing this disparity by expanding its Centering Pregnancy program to bring new mothers together for prenatal care and by using obstetric navigators to connect parents to basic needs, such as food and transportation.
  • The strongest determinant of health is a family-sustaining job. Cleveland Clinic remains the largest employer in the State of Ohio. The health system is becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive, hiring, training and promoting 600 Black Ohioans.
  • Food insecurity. Cleveland Clinic is working with the City of Cleveland and other local partners to bring a Meijer grocery market with apartments to the Fairfax neighborhood to address food insecurity and revitalize the neighborhood.

“Over the past year, we celebrated a century of excellence with pride. Together, we declared: Cleveland Clinic is the future of healthcare since 1921,” Dr. Mihaljevic said. “Cleveland Clinic shines brightest when we are most needed, and so do our people. By every measure, we have come through the past two years stronger. Demand for our services has never been greater, which is the highest recognition of all. Our patients remind us that there can be no limitations in what we set out to achieve.”

 

About Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 72,500 employees worldwide are more than 5,050 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,800 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,500-bed health system that includes a 173-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 21 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, including locations in northeast Ohio; southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2021, there were 10.2 million total outpatient visits, 304,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 259,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/ClevelandClinic. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.

Editor’s Note: Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide broadcast-quality interviews and B-roll upon request.