50 Years and counting for MetroHealth's Dr. Frits van der Kuyp
When Frits van der Kuyp, MD, started working here in 1969, one of the most iconic buildings in MetroHealth’s history wasn’t even open. “I built the Towers,” he jokes. He’s now witnessing MetroHealth's Transformation.
What’s been most important to Dr. van der Kuyp isn’t the buildings, but the people. “I’ve been very fortunate to work with the people here and to see some impact with patients,” he says.
Dr. van der Kuyp, former director of the Tuberculosis Program, has been a part of the MetroHealth community for 50 years. His colleagues recently marked the milestone with a celebration that featured treats, hugs and gratitude for his desire to continue sharing his knowledge. Although he officially retired “a few years ago,” you can still find him in the TB clinic a couple of Wednesdays a month, where he reviews cases and attends conferences.
“Dr. van der Kuyp has been a national leader in the care of tuberculosis,” says Catherine Curley, MD. “He participated in numerous public health trials that later established the standards of care for both the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis. It is a privilege to work with him and to learn from him. Dr. van der Kuyp is also a skilled teacher. He has taught generations of young physicians about the interpretation of chest X-rays, diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, and also occupational lung diseases."
Dr. van der Kuyp says his work at MetroHealth has been rewarding. “I’ve had an opportunity to start an observation program (for TB patients). At other places, the standard was to just give people medicine; a large number of patients didn’t take their medicine. But when I came here we started a program to observe treatment. We were one of the first, and this later became a standard.”
He says the most fulfilling aspect of his work has been those changes in care. “TB is a public health problem. We’ve been able to treat and help a very large number of people and hopefully been able to prevent others from getting sick. We emphasize the preventive aspect. In TB, that’s a good thing.”
The MetroHealth System, Cuyahoga County’s public health system, is honoring its commitment to create a healthier community by building a new hospital on its main campus in Cleveland. The building, and the 25 acres of green space around it, are catalyzing the revitalization of MetroHealth’s West Side neighborhood.
MetroHealth will break ground on the new hospital in late 2018, using nearly $1 billion it borrowed on its own credit after dramatically improving its finances. In the past five years, MetroHealth’s operating revenue has increased by 44.5 percent and its number of employees by 21 percent. Today, its staff of 7,700 provides care at MetroHealth’s four hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers and 40 additional sites throughout Cuyahoga County. In the past year, MetroHealth has served 300,000 patients at more than 1.4 million visits in its hospitals and health centers, 75 percent of whom are uninsured or covered by Medicare or Medicaid.
The health system is home to Cuyahoga County’s most experienced Level I Adult Trauma Center, verified since 1992, and the only adult and pediatric burn center in the state of Ohio.
As an academic medical center, MetroHealth is committed to teaching and research. Each active staff physician holds a faculty appointment at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and its main campus hospital houses a Cleveland Metropolitan School District high school of science and health.
For more information, visit metrohealth.org.