MUSC Trustees Review 2017 Budget, Plan Strategy for Health Care Challenges

Contact: Heather Woolwine

June 28, 2016

COLUMBIA, SC –The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Board of Trustees met June 27 to discuss the fiscal year 2017 budget for the university and its affiliates. Fiscal year 2017 runs from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. The overall MUSC budget includes the academic institution (Medical University), South Carolina Area Health Education Consortium, MUSC Foundation for Research Development, MUSC Foundation, which exists to fund raise for the university, MUSC Physicians, and Medical University Hospital Authority.

"The broad theme of the meeting was to review the financial position of our institution and talk strategically about how we're going to face the future," said MUSC President David J. Cole, M.D., FACS. With a variety of changes under way in the health care field, most academic medical centers that are affiliated with hospitals are facing a similar situation. "It's important that the board and the administration all maintain the same high level of awareness and directional focus, especially at this time.

"The board members discussed both capital and operating budgets. "We want everyone to understand the strategy behind the numbers and how we determine the expense and revenue assumptions," said Lisa Montgomery, executive vice president of Finance and Operations.

On average, MUSC Health provides more than 1.5 million patient care visits, inpatient, and outpatient, across South Carolina every year. In recent years, the financial dynamics of hospitals have changed dramatically as a result of factors that include less in-hospital use, more people on Medicare and Medicaid, less private insurance, more narrow networks, and a switch to pay for outcomes versus pay for service, noted Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., MUSC Health CEO, and vice president for Health Affairs, University.

"For MUSC, there's another important variable that doesn't affect other, private hospitals -- that is our mission to provide the highest quality patient care to everyone who comes through our doors, regardless of their financial situation. As a teaching hospital, providing that consistent, quality care to everyone is part of who we are. That means at MUSC, we treat the sickest and the poorest patients and that impacts us as an organization in ways other organizations don't see," Cawley said.

Among the other topics that board members covered were:

  • Efforts to curtail students from graduating with onerous debt: In that vein, the university has requested modest tuition increases in three colleges -- Pharmacy (3 percent), Graduate Studies (2 percent), and Dental Medicine (2 percent).
  • The current campus master facilities plan and deferred maintenance.
  • The anticipated increase in MUSC research funding to more than $250 million for fiscal year 2016, with the understanding that while research is a mission-critical component at MUSC, it also comes at a cost.

About MUSC

Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and 700 residents in six colleges (Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy), and has nearly 14,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $2.4 billion, with an annual economic impact of more than $3.8 billion and annual research funding in excess of $250 million. MUSC operates a 700-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), Hollings Cancer Center (a National Cancer Institute-designated center), Level I Trauma Center, Institute of Psychiatry, and the state’s only transplant center. In 2017, for the third consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the number one hospital in South Carolina. For more information on academic programs or clinical services, visit For more information on hospital patient services, visit