President and CEO of Erlanger and Children's Hospital Kevin Spiegel told the Chattanooga Civitan Club Friday afternoon, "The best hospitals in America are academic hospitals, teaching hospitals."
He said, "Our mission is not only to provide the highest level of care, but we have a mission of education." He told the club that many of the doctors currently practicing were actually trained at Erlanger. He described it as "where we train the future doctors of tomorrow.
As the only teaching hospital in the region, President Spiegel said Erlanger has an economic impact of approximately $2 billion throughout the area. Any profit generated always stays in the community.
He pointed out that the hospital is a world-wide leader in stroke research, and the number one place for stroke treatment in Tennessee and Georgia. It is also the 9th largest public hospital in the entire country.
However, at over $92 million, the hospital also has the third largest amount of uncompensated care in the state. Uncompensated care cost is the cost of the treatment of people who come to the hospital without money or insurance.
The state reimburses hospitals for some of this cost, but not all. President Spiegel said Senator Bob Corker played a huge role in helping hospitals across the state get an additional $90 million back.
He noted that in addition to uncompensated care costs, the hospital is also facing the increasing need for a new building for the Children's Hospital. The current building is 40 years old. He said on average, most children's hospital buildings across the country are only seven years old.
He said, "We need to continue to move rapidly and continue to engage the community."