Administrators at Grays Harbor Community Hospital are asking departments heads to review and trim their labor budgets with a new tool that measures the efficiency of an hour of work. Provided by Truven Health Analytics, the software compares our hospital to those across the nation.
CEO Tom Jensen said during a recent interview “We do have departments that are very close to the 25th percentile – close to the very top if you will. We have some departments that are down to the 75th percentile, and we’ve got to get those up to the 50th.” He said the software helps them compare an hour of work in Aberdeen, or in Seattle, “If we could get to the 50th, which is the middle, we should be able to break even depending upon what the reimbursement models look like in the future.”
He said administrators are not being asked for specific cuts in staffing numbers, rather they plan to compare efficiencies – and will be asked to do more with less. “If the only thing that you can manage is the labor that works in the rain then that’s all you can manage. We can’t change the payer mix, I can’t change who we serve, drug costs, but if you focus on the only thing that we can really control is what we do with the staff and how many staff take care of a person and what that looks like.”
Jensen is preparing a budget that plans to spend about a million less on salaries in 2018 as he anticipates the 49-bed Sole Community Hospital designation.
Our story on Friday morning did not use the terms “fired” or “laid off.”
Understanding an FTE
The Washington Labor and Industries Department explains that a Full time equivalent (FTE) is the equivalent of one person working full time for one year (2000 worker hours per year). For example two persons working half-time count as one FTE.
Director of Marketing and Public Relations Nancee Long sent the following email to all hospital staff Friday afternoon.
We had a rush of questions from employees this morning about the 23 FTE’s who were being fired according to a local radio program. This information may be of interest to you as it gives a broader picture of the numbers from which the information was taken.
From: Tom Jensen
Date: Friday, November 17, 2017 at 2:33 PM
Subject: Local Radio Broadcast
Dear Staff and Providers:
It has come to our attention that information about hospital staffing was broadcast on local radio this morning. Yesterday, during a regularly scheduled monthly News Bureau meeting, I met for more than an hour with three media outlets to discuss the 2018 Budget, hospital rebranding, and other issues of interest from the media.
At this meeting we provided the media with the Board approved 2018 Budget (attached). On this document, you can clearly see that there is a reduction of 23 FTE’s for 2018. Information not solicited or discussed during the meeting, is that the FTE’s will be reduced via agency and overtime. In moving toward a balanced budget, we will be using less agency workers in 2018 and we will be more effectively controlling overtime.
I appreciate your questions about this issue and respect that you are concerned about staffing. Your thoughts and ideas are welcome as we work together to improve efficiencies within the organization.
Chief Executive Officer