In a guest column published by the Detroit Free Press, Ora Pescovitz – CEO of the University of Michigan Health System and UM’s executive vice president for medical affairs – describes how the federal sequestration and recent shutdown are affecting medical research. From the column: “When we stop investing in research, we’re saying that we are no longer committed to leading the world in discovery and being on the cutting edge of medical science. We’re saying that we are okay with the fact that our nation — a nation built on pioneering innovation — will no longer be in the lead or even competitive.”[Source]
University of Michigan regents approved the fiscal 2013 operating budget for the UM Hospitals and Health Centers, in a unanimous vote taken at their June 21, 2012 meeting. Doug Strong, CEO of the UMHHC, made a presentation on the FY 2012 budget – which ends June 30, 2012 – as well as on the budget plan for FY 2013. He described the organization as financially healthy, though stressed by the same economic pressures as similar entities.
For the current fiscal year 2012, revenues are expected to reach $2.24 billion, with an 0.5% negative operating margin of $11.3 million. However, that’s better than the anticipated loss of $23.5 million that had been budgeted for the year, Strong said. The loss is due in large …
Many of the same residents who gathered at Kellogg Eye Center in late 2008 attended another meeting this month on a similar topic: The University of Michigan’s construction of a 700-space parking structure on Wall Street.
On April 26, 2012 about 15 residents heard from UM representatives about plans for the $34 million structure, which university regents approved on April 19. The purpose of the meeting was to get input from neighbors that will inform the structure’s design. Roughly 2,000 people live in that general area.
They offered a lot of input, expressing concerns and giving specific suggestions related to noise pollution, traffic congestion, lighting and more. Ideas from residents included putting a green roof on the top of the structure, which will likely be at least 4-5 levels tall; placing the structure as far west on the site as possible, further away from residential buildings; making the structure pedestrian friendly; and encouraging the use of alternative transportation.
Tim Mortimer, president of the Riverside Park Place Condominium Association, criticized UM for a lack of leadership in its approach to parking. While UM officials like to refer to the university as the Harvard of the Midwest, he said, it’s actually more like the Southeast New Jersey Junior College of the Midwest, in terms of environmental sustainability and design. He urged the university to do more, and presented a letter from the condo association’s board that included 11 detailed suggestions for the project – ranging from architecture to entrance/exit configuration. [.pdf of Mortimer's letter]
Jim Kosteva, UM’s director of community relations, defended the university’s efforts in encouraging alternative transportation. And Tom Peterson, associate director of operations and support services for the UM Hospitals and Health Centers, provided details on a range of programs offered by UM in that regard – including vanpools, Zipcars, free bus service through MRide, and shuttle service from outlying parking lots.
But Peterson also presented the university’s case for needing more parking at the Wall Street location, pointing to employment growth at the nearby UM medical campus. Since 2009, employment at the UM medical school and hospital complex has grown from about 19,000 to nearly 21,000 employees. Even more staff will be added when a major renovation of the former Mott children’s hospital is completed, he said.
The Wall Street parking project was revived after the university pulled out of the proposed Fuller Road Station in February. The joint effort with the city of Ann Arbor would have included a 1,000-space parking structure and, some hoped, an eventual train depot. When asked about it at Thursday’s meeting, Kosteva said the university still shares the city’s vision for that Fuller Road site as a good location for intermodal transportation. When the city receives the federal support it needs for this project, he added, the university is prepared to be re-engaged about its potential role.
Kosteva was also asked about future plans for even more parking on Wall Street. He noted that the master plan for the medical center, including the Wall Street area, was approved by regents in 2005 and remains in place. The master plan anticipates adding 700,000 to 900,000 square feet of clinical and research space in the area, as well as two parking structures. That plan is guiding decision-making, he said. [.pdf of 2005 medical center master plan]
The bulk of the 90-minute meeting focused on design aspects of the Wall Street structure, in a discussion led by university planner Sue Gott. Several people pointed to the city’s Fourth & Washington parking structure as a model. Wall Street resident Elizabeth Colvin said she refers to it as the “Sue Gott parking structure,” because of Gott’s instrumental role in soliciting public input that helped shape the design. At the time, Gott worked for JJR and was a consultant on that project.
Gott, who grew up in Ann Arbor, replied by saying she knew UM had to deliver something that was worthy of this city, and something they can all be proud of.
University of Michigan board of regents meeting (Jan. 19, 2012): The sixth floor of UM’s Ross School of Business was the venue for January’s meeting, where regents and executives dispatched the university’s business with an alacrity called for by president Mary Sue Coleman. There was no indication at the time that U.S. president Barack Obama would be speaking here later this month. News of his speech – to be delivered on Friday morning, Jan. 27 at UM’s Al Glick Fieldhouse – was announced on Monday.
Instead, regents dealt with less high-profile matters, approving a range of action items with little discussion. Those included funding for a major expansion of the UM Health System into Wayne County, along the I-275 corridor; renovations that will transform the entrance to Schembechler Hall and make a museum of football memorabilia more accessible to the public; and improvements to the university’s Northwood apartment complex on north campus.
But much of the meeting consisted of reports. Stephen Forrest, UM’s vice president for research, presented a sobering outlook for future research funding, calling the climate for federal funding “worrisome.” After his talk, regent Andrea Fischer Newman pointed out that tuition is helping to support the university’s $1.2 billion research program – about 25% of those research expenditures are covered internally.
Regents also heard from dean Alison Davis-Blake, who described how the business school is countering the caricature of managers that are only focused on short-term profits, and whose management skills consist of the ability to say, “You’re fired!” Graduates of Ross are taught to think more broadly, she said.
An item not on the agenda of the Jan. 19 meeting received considerable attention during public commentary. One student and three professors spoke against an effort to unionize graduate student research assistants (GSRAs).
Also during public commentary, the chair of the Sierra Club’s Huron Valley group raised concerns over the proposed Fuller Road Station, saying that the joint UM/city of Ann Arbor project runs counter to the university’s sustainability efforts. Fuller Road Station’s initial phase is a proposed parking structure, located near the UM medical campus, that could hold over 1,000 vehicles.
A major expansion into western Wayne County by the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers was authorized by UM regents at their Jan. 19, 2012 board meeting. The $39 million project entails opening a new clinic along the I-275 corridor, at a site located at Seven Mile and Haggerty Roads in Northville Township – about a half mile away UM’s existing Livonia Center for Specialty Care. Attracting patients from outside the market of Livingston and Washtenaw counties is part of the UM Health System‘s strategic plan.
The plan calls for signing a 25-year lease on 100,000 square feet, with base rent of $27.25 per rentable square foot per year, increasing 5% every five years. The base lease covers expenses related to the land, …
As an item of information, University of Michigan regents were provided with an annual report on leases held by the university that exceed 50,000 square feet.
There are currently five such leases: (1) 222,775 square feet at the Domino’s Farms complex, used by various UM Health System departments; (2) 125,815 square feet at the KMS Building on South State Street, used by UMHS; (3) 65,693 square feet at 325 East Eisenhower Parkway for use by Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Spine Rehabilitation and the Dental School; (4) 63,920 square feet at 2301 Commonwealth Boulevard, for use by UMHS; and (5) 51,534 square feet at 1051 North Canton Center Road in Canton, for the UMHS Canton Health Center.
This brief was filed from the …
A $3.33 million renovation for the University Hospital’s Trauma Burn Unit was approved at the Dec. 15, 2011 meeting of the University of Michigan board of regents. Renovations of the roughly 6,600-square-foot facility include improved lighting for care within the patient rooms, improved treatment rooms, creation of a dedicated physical therapy and occupational therapy room, and creation of a faculty on-call room.
Project and Design Management LLC, an architectural firm based in Ferndale, will design the project. According to a staff memo, a phased construction schedule is planned to minimize disruption to operations and patient care, with construction to be completed in the fall of 2012.
This brief was filed from the boardroom of the Fleming administration building on the UM campus in …
At its Sept. 7, 2011 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners gave initial approval to appointing Jeffrey Jentzen to a four-year term as the county’s medical examiner, and Bader Cassin as deputy medical examiner. Currently, Cassin serves as medical examiner, a role he’s held since 1996, and Jentzen is his deputy. According to a staff memo provided to commissioners, the change in appointments is part of a transition at the medical examiner’s office.
The county contracts with the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) for the medical examiner’s administration, customer service and autopsies – UMHS provides field investigators, administrative support, customer service, and autopsy assistants. Jentzen is a UM professor of pathology. Cassin is a clinical lecturer with UM’s …
University of Michigan Board of Regents meeting (June 17, 2010): Budget presentations dominated the June meeting, the time of year when regents are asked to approve what have become inevitable tuition hikes for the university.
This year, with two regents dissenting, a tuition increase of 1.5% for in-state undergraduates was approved for the Ann Arbor campus. UM executives noted that it’s the lowest rate increase in 26 years – but if their projections for state appropriations prove too optimistic, they cautioned that they might need to return to request raising tuition later in the fiscal year.
University officials say they’re buffering the tuition increase by substantially adding to the amount of financial aid available to students – $126 million, up $8.3 million from the current year. They’re also launching a new “economic hardship” program, adding $500 in financial aid per year for up to four years for qualified students.
Tuition makes up a large portion of the general fund operating budget. For the Ann Arbor campus, a budget of $1.55 billion in FY 2011, which begins July 1, marks a 6.75% increase from FY 2010.
Regents also approved the FY2011 budget for the UM Hospitals and Health Centers – revenues are projected to top $2 billion for the first time during this year, with a $66 million operating surplus.
And UM athletic director Dave Brandon gave a briefing on the athletic department budget, though it doesn’t require regental approval. Projected revenues of $105 million includes $38.19 million from ticket sales, while the budgeted $100.3 million in expenses includes a $9.22 million debt service payment for Michigan Stadium renovations.
In addition to budgets, regents approved several construction projects, including a $56 million renovation of Alice Lloyd Hall and a $1.6 million repair of Burton Memorial Tower, which will close the landmark site – and silence its carillon – for about a year, starting in August.
University of Michigan Board of Regents meeting (April 15, 2010): Under the high ceilings and crystal chandelier of an historic hotel in downtown Grand Rapids, university regents and administrators gathered Thursday for their monthly meeting in a venue designed to recognize UM’s ties with the western part of the state.
Though most of the meeting entailed presentations and reports – focused on UM programs with links to the Grand Rapids area and western Michigan – the regents also unanimously approved several action items, with little discussion.
Increases for parking permit fees – 3% in each of the next three fiscal years – were set, as was the transfer of the Henry Ford Estate to the nonprofit Ford House foundation. The estate had been given to UM in the 1950s along with land that became the university’s Dearborn campus. Regents also approved a major expansion of the Institute for Social Research building on Thompson Street.
During public commentary, two leaders of the lecturers’ union spoke to regents, charging that UM lecturers are being asked to shoulder an unfair burden as the university tries to cut costs. The union is negotiating with the administration for a new contract – its current contract expires May 15.
After the meeting – held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel – regents, executives and staff headed over to the nearby J.W. Marriott hotel for a reception hosted by the UM Alumni Association.
University of Michigan Board of Regents (Feb. 19, 2009): At their most recent monthly meeting, UM regents got a detailed report about the community benefits provided by its health system, and heard from several students lobbying the university to establish a sustainability office.
Most items on the agenda – including approval of over $13 million in construction projects – received little or no discussion among regents or UM’s executive officers.