‘This is a time for all of us to become better than we ever thought’

Acting President Robert Hromas, MD, FACP

President’s Forum encourages university community to reach new heights

UT Health San Antonio continues its growth trajectory as the new UT School of Public Health San Antonio prepares to welcome its inaugural class this fall, the UT Health San Antonio Multispecialty and Research Hospital prepares to open its doors this December, capital projects come to fruition and the institution continues to show upward trends on multiple fronts, said Acting President Robert Hromas, MD, FACP, at the May 13 President’s Forum.

Attendees listened intently during the event.

During the full-capacity event, Hromas noted that there are times during a career when one is asked to stand up and reach new heights. This is the time, he said, adding that he was fully aware that he is standing on the shoulders of a giant, President William L. Henrich, MD, MACP. Henrich passed away on March 14 from complications related to a second stem cell transplantation.

“This is a time for all of us to become better than we ever thought … to reach heights of greatness to impact our region more than we ever thought we could, to make a difference in the lives of those around us,” said Hromas. “This is what this forum is all about: building a team to impact our city and our region for better health.”

Hromas emphasized that the forum was an opportunity for him to learn from everyone at the institution and be a resource for questions.

“I need to add value,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m here today. To learn from you. To hear from you. To flatten the hierarchy. To add value to your jobs … to make lives better in South Texas.”

Click here to view the recorded video of the President’s Forum.

Click here to view photos from the President’s Forum.

Operational excellence

Hromas praised the institution’s accomplishments during fiscal year 2024. This includes the addition of more than 2,000 new hires, the implementation of the Oracle HCM Cloud upgrade to enhance all human resources operations and the delivery on all critical milestones for EPIC, the organization’s electronic patient health records system.

Attendees enjoyed the event.

The institution has also shown impressive growth in operating trends, clinical revenues, research activity and patient visits since 2018, with net assets increasing 14% over the prior year, Hromas said.

Since 2018, the institution has experienced a 95% increase in research activity, a 74% increase in clinical revenues, an upward trajectory of 67% in operating trends and a 43% increase in patient visits, said Hromas.

Kudos locally and nationally

Hromas also praised the institution’s recognitions over the past year, noting that for the second consecutive year, UT Health San Antonio’s medical and dental practices, UT Health Physicians and UT Dentistry, won the 2024 Your SA San Antonio Express-News’ Readers’ Choice Awards in their respective categories.

Among other recognitions, the health science center was listed by the journal Nature as the sixth fastest-growing research institution in the country and is the only San Antonio-based organization on the nationwide list of the top 100 highest-rated employers for company culture.

Staff and faculty questions

During a significant portion of the event, Hromas made it a priority to answer staff and faculty questions via Staff Advisory Chair Jack Frost, MBA, PMP, and Faculty Advisory Chair Alan Salinas, MD.

Staff Advisory Chair Jack Frost, MBA, PMP, asked questions on behalf of health science center staff.

Staff questions touched on the budget, inflation and the university’s priorities, among other queries.

Hromas said it’s vitally important for the health science center to balance its budget to retain its independent decision-making ability, adding that leadership has asked employees to spend less on travel and equipment and hold on hiring for positions that do not generate revenue. Hromas asked for patience until the hospital comes online, adding that he realizes that staff raises have not kept up with inflation.

When asked about the institution’s priorities in the next year or two, Hromas said the top priorities are for the hospital to provide great care and operate at high efficiency and for the UT School of Public Health San Antonio to meet student enrollment goals and obtain accreditation.

Stretch goals for education, research, collaboration

Hromas spoke about the many accomplishments of the university’s six schools and provided an ambitious look ahead, identifying specific academic and research goals for each school in the coming fiscal year.

Hromas likewise emphasized that by maintaining the institution’s tradition of successful collaboration, UT Health San Antonio will continue its exciting path of growth and community impact. He harkened back to a tour that U.S. President John F. Kennedy had taken of the NASA Space Center to demonstrate the power of being part of a valued team.

As Kennedy passed a gentleman mopping the floor at the space center and asked how he was doing, the gentleman replied that he was doing great because he was sending a man to the moon, Hromas recounted.

“I hope that no matter what you do in the health science center, no matter what your job is, you think you’re sending a man to the moon, you think you’re developing the next cure for fatty liver disease, you think you’re developing the next great physician [who’s] going to invent a surgery that’s going to save thousands of lives,” Hromas said. “Because you are. We’re an organism.”

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