Carolinas HealthCare System-Mecklenburg

  • Location: Charlotte, NC
  • Award: Evidence-Based Leadership Healthcare Organization of the Month
  • Awarded: November 2006

Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) is the third largest not-for-profit healthcare system in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, CHS owns, leases and manages hospitals, physician practices, specialty services and long-term care facilities in North and South Carolina. The System is comprised of over 4,300 beds and 25,300 employees.

In 2004, CHS identified customer service as a key business imperative. Senior Leadership determined that CHS would work to develop a culture of Service Excellence. CHS engaged the Studer Group as partners in this culture change. They began monthly coaching, Facility and Corporate teams were developed, a Leadership Development Institute was established, and the journey began. President and CEO Michael C. Tarwater states, “It has been a challenge to come up with an easy, shorthand to describe this journey. Words like ‘program’ or ‘initiative’ are hard to avoid, but they are misleading in that they imply a beginning, a middle and an end. Service excellence doesn’t have a timeframe attached to it. It’s a culture change defined by the introduction and continuous reinforcement of high-level expectations about how we treat patients and one another. There is no endpoint.” At the facility level, the reinforcement is equally strong. Carolinas Medical Center President, Suzanne H. Freeman comments, “The overriding goal of service excellence is actually quite simple. It is to ensure that patients feel the quality of their treatment is extraordinary, physicians feel their patients are getting excellent care, and employees feel valued.”

By keeping the System mission and vision at the forefront of all work and focusing on results in the six Goals for Excellence, CHS has achieved remarkable results.

Carolinas HealthCare System Mission: To create and operate a comprehensive system to provide health care and related services, including education and research opportunities, for the benefit of the people it serves.

Carolinas HealthCare System Vision: As the Carolinas' premier health care provider, Carolinas HealthCare System will be chosen by patients and physicians for high quality and cost-effective health services.

A few of the recent awards include:

  • National Research Corporation Consumer Choice Award – Charlotte’s Most Preferred Hospital (Carolinas Medical Center – Seven Consecutive Years)
  • HealthGrades – Best Cardiac Care in the Region
  • Verispan Integrated Hospital Network 100 – Ranked #5
  • Hospital and Health Networks – 100 Most Wired Hospitals
  • Charlotte Parent Magazine’s Top Family-Friendly 40 award
  • National CareScience quality “Top Performer” for total knee replacement surgery and total hip replacement surgery – Top 15th percentile (Carolinas Medical Center)
  • CareScience – Most Effective Strategic Approach to Improving Outcomes.
  • Cardiac Center of Excellence Designation – Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (2006)
  • Carolinas Heart Institute at Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) nationally recognized for the quality of its care by being designated a UnitedHealth PremiumSM Cardiac Specialty Center
    • CMC-Carolinas Heart Institute research ranks nationally in prominent clinical trials (2005):
      1. Ranked #1 nationally in ACROSS Trial
      2. Ranked #2 nationally in IVS Clip Trial
      3. Ranked #3 nationally in the ENDEAVOR IV Trial
      4. Ranked #3 nationally in the CABERNET Trial
      5. One of 14 centers nationally awarded the EVEREST Trial
      6. Awarded the TRIUMPH Trial
  • American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (ACS-CoC) Outstanding Achievement Award – Carolinas Medical Center Oncology Program
  • CMC Neuroscience and Spine Institute ranked top 10% nationally by NeuroSource. The CMC Neuroscience and Spine Institute garnered 92 out of a possible 100%. (2005)
  • CMC’s Carolinas Poison Center received designation as the NC State Poison Control Center, replacing Duke University Medical Center. (2005)
    • Carolinas Med-1, a state of the art mobile hospital, was built with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. It is unveiled in June of 2004 in Washington, DC for viewing by lawmakers, military, secret service and the White House medical team. (2004)
      1. Only Mobile Hospital in the country deployed to serve Waveland, Mississippi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (2005)
      2. Re-deployed to New Orleans at the request of the federal government in February 2006.
  • Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) – First North Carolina Hospital to receive Accreditation of CMC Chest Pain Center by the Society of Chest Pain Centers
  • Sardis Oaks Nursing Home Safety Efforts recognized in a case study published by JCAHO.

CHS Patient Satisfaction Awards (PRC) – 2006
Carolinas Medical Center:

  • 5-Star Outpatient
  • 5-Star Neonatal Progressive Care Nursery
  • 5- Star Cardiac Cath
  • 4-Star Dental Clinic
  • 4-Star Women’s Institute
  • 5-Star Blumenthal Oncology Associates

Carolinas Medical Center – Mercy:

  • 5-Star Outpatient
  • 4-Star Emergency Department Gold Award – Inpatient Orthopedics

Carolinas Medical Center – Pineville:

  • 4-Star Emergency Department
  • 5-Star Inpatient
  • 5-Star Outpatient
  • 5-Star OB/GYN Maternity Care Services Gold Award – Emergency Care Silver Award – Inpatient OB/GYN

Carolinas Medical Center – University:

  • 4-Star Emergency Department
  • 4-Star Inpatient
  • 5-Star Outpatient Gold Award – Emergency Care

Carolinas Rehabilitation:

  • 5- Star Carolinas Rehabilitation- Dilworth
  • 4- Star Carolinas Rehabilitation- Pineville
  • 4- Star Carolinas Rehabilitation- Huntersville
  • 4- Star Carolinas Rehabilitation- Matthews


Customer Service:

Measurement Baseline – 3Q 2004 (Pre-Studer Group) FY 2005 YTD 2006
Patient Satisfaction Overall Quality of Care (PRC – Inpatient) 69th percentile 72nd percentile 82nd percentile
Patient Satisfaction Overall Quality of Care (PRC – Outpatient) 65th percentile 89th percentile 96th percentile
Patient Satisfaction Overall Quality of Care (PRC – ED) 50th percentile 70th percentile 86th percentile
Carolinas Physicians Network – Overall Patient Satisfaction 51.7% excellent 72.9% excellent 79.7% excellent

QUICK FACT – Carolinas Physicians Network showed a 20% improvement from Q4 2005 – Q2 2006 in their question regarding Accessibility by Telephone. This was after implementing a program titled Live Answer.

Medical Management / Quality:

Measurement Baseline FY 2004 (Pre-Studer Group) FY 2005 FY 2006
Percutaneous Coronary Intervention within 120 minutes of admission 91% within 120 minutes of admission 89% within 120 minutes of admission 100% within 120 minutes of admission

Core Measures are not reported as a System; however, this is an example of CHS’ flagship hospital, Carolinas Medical Center, and the success that they have had.

QUICK FACT – Carolinas Physicians Network received 30 NCQA (North Carolina Quality Association) recognitions for Diabetes and Heart / Stroke Recognition programs.


Measurement FY 2004 (Pre-Studer Group) FY 2005 FY 2006
ED visits (monthly average) 19,182/month 20,527/month 21,798/month
Inpatient Surgical Cases (monthly average) 1,432/month 1542/month 1593/month
Outpatient Surgical Cases (monthly average) 2773/month 2760/month 2803/month

QUICK FACT – Levine Children’s Hospital – largest children’s hospital between Atlanta and Washington, DC – is scheduled to open on the campus of Carolinas Medical Center in the Fall 2007.

Financial Viability / Operational Excellence:

Measurement FY 2004 (Pre-Studer Group) FY 2005 FY 2006
Adjusted Discharges 54,110 55,417 56,784


  • CHS is currently in a period of significant re-investment during which record capital expenditures are expected in order for the System to meet the growing health care needs of the community and region it serves.
  • CHS has achieved over the last five years solid financial results that are being reinvested in these record capital expenditures, new programmatic needs, and into the community through our mission.

.Community Benefit:

Measurement Most Recent Campaign
United Way Campaign – one of the largest campaigns in the US - Third largest in Charlotte behind Bank of America and Wachovia $1,903,473 raised (2006)
Children’s Miracle Network (Employee Campaign) $485,000.00 (2006)

QUICK FACT – In 2005, CHS implement a popular community program – LiveWELL Carolinas! LiveWELL Carolinas! covers a wide variety of employee programs and community partnerships intended to promote preventive health and encourage healthy choices. Through its’ components Work, Eat, Learn, Live, LiveWELL Carolinas! emphasizes a new type of relationship between patients and providers, by which CHS not only treats illness or injury but also cultivates a greater sense of personal responsibility for maintaining healthy lifestyles.

Employee Satisfaction:

Measurement Baseline – 3Q 2004 (Pre-Studer Group) FY 2005 YTD 2006
System-wide Turnover 16.8% 17.8% 14.8%
Employee Satisfaction 79th percentile 78th %tile (mini-survey) 85th percentile

QUICK FACT – The CHS Leadership Development Institute student body numbers in excess of 550 members and meets offsite two days, three times each year.

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