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Old 08-14-2008, 08:38 AM
 
Location: Florida
4,850 posts, read 13,500,042 times
Reputation: 2257

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Hospital to lay off 31

By David Gulliver


Published: Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 at 11:23 p.m.
SARASOTA - Sarasota Memorial Hospital said Wednesday it would lay off 31 employees and cut about 100 vacant positions to head off losses from rising expenses and declining tax revenues.


HEALTH CARE:About 100 empty positions are also being eliminated

The layoffs are roughly split between clerical staff and patient care workers. But hospital officials said no floor-based unit nurses lost their jobs and quality of care would not suffer.

The hospital's elected board knew of and agreed with the plans, but did not have to give formal approval, Vice Chairman Marguerite G. Malone said.

Sarasota Memorial is having its best financial year since 2005. It expects to lose about $19 million on operations but net about $57 million after including its cut of property taxes.

But hospital officials said the layoffs are about next year, when they expect those numbers to fall.

"This is about the economy; you look around and there isn't anyone that hasn't been affected," Chief Executive Officer Gwen MacKenzie said.

Sarasota County's property tax projections say the hospital will lose about $10 million in funding from tax revenue.

The hospital also expects costs to rise $23 million, including double-digit increases in utilities and insurance bills, MacKenzie said. That forced officials to cut deeper than they had hoped.

"We planned for a difficult year, but we didn't plan for a $10 million reduction in property tax revenue," she said.

Last month, Sarasota Memorial's elected board voted to freeze the hospital tax rate for next year, effectively locking in the revenue loss.

The layoffs are expected to save about $1 million next year, officials said. Eliminating vacant positions could save another $4 million.

Among the hardest-hit units is the hospital's team of nurses that specialize in inserting intravenous lines. Eight of the 13 nurses were laid off.

Sarasota Memorial will keep a smaller IV nurse team, and give all nurses a refresher course in starting IVs, officials said. The hospital will retain its overall nurse-to-patient ratio of 1 to 5, Chief Nursing Officer Jan Mauck said.

Most layoffs take effect this week, and employees will get severance pay and assistance in finding new jobs, officials said.

Merit raises will be available at the same levels next year as in 2008, MacKenzie said.

But the layoffs come as many community members -- including some running for the Sarasota Memorial board -- have criticized the hospital for spending money on new buildings and a salary increase for MacKenzie.

The hospital is building a outpatient center in Manatee County and a freestanding emergency room in North Port. It also plans a new bed tower on its main campus to replace aging buildings.

The tower's estimated $250 million cost will be paid largely through money borrowed via a bond issue.

Officials say the expansions are vital to the future.

"The outpatient facilities are going to provide the fuel to support the mission of the main campus," MacKenzie said.

Main campus buildings are not up today's standards, she said, noting the shared rooms in the maternity ward and its crowded neonatal intensive care unit.

MacKenzie's salary is $574,500 after a 3.5 percent merit raise in December 2007 and a 7 percent raise in her new contract, approved in May.

Malone, the hospital board vice chairman, said the board did not know of the layoff plans when it approved the raises. But the two are separate issues, she said.

MacKenzie has performed "brilliantly," Malone said, and when her contract expired, the board agreed to set her new salary at the median for executives at hospitals similar to Sarasota Memorial.

In a letter to managers Wednesday, MacKenzie cautioned that the hospital's work force may not be in the clear.

"I can't promise that we won't have to make further cuts in the future," she said.

"Much depends on the economy and if we make our budget goals for 2009."

The hospital system employs about 4,000 people. It laid off 60 people and cut 30 vacant positions in 2005 and laid off 31 people in 2003.

It's just fascinating that the CEO's salary is over $500K a year & got a raise...
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Old 08-14-2008, 09:11 AM
 
33 posts, read 112,888 times
Reputation: 20
A salary and a raise like that just doesn't seemed justified when close to 150 are going to be without a job.
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Punta Gorda and Maryland
6,103 posts, read 14,347,288 times
Reputation: 1245
Sounds like funny accounting to me.
How do you save $4 million a year on "vacant positions?" If they are vacant - then who is receiving the $4 million dollars?

From now on - I only want to have a vacant position! I pays more and I dont have to show up - I'm vacant! I'm gonna google what skills I need to do the work of a vacant position that pays soooo much! That equates to $ 40K per year - maybe I can hold 3 vacant jobs. LOL
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Old 08-14-2008, 11:24 AM
 
Location: Marion, IN
8,189 posts, read 30,198,867 times
Reputation: 7319
So much for health care positions being recession proof.......
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:19 PM
 
5,969 posts, read 8,847,855 times
Reputation: 1614
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racelady88 View Post
So much for health care positions being recession proof.......

Nothing is recession proof in Florida at this time. The Florida economy is collapsing!
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Florida
4,850 posts, read 13,500,042 times
Reputation: 2257
Quote:
Originally Posted by Racelady88 View Post
So much for health care positions being recession proof.......

I was thinking the same thing.
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Old 08-14-2008, 01:47 PM
 
35,398 posts, read 55,014,797 times
Reputation: 22418
just hope you don't have to have an IV----for some people with bad veins, children, or those in critical situation that is not an easy task--some nurses might be "refreshed" on how to do it--but that does not mean they are good at it...
setting up an IV "painlessly" is an art IMO and some people are more gifted at it than others...
and agree that Gwen has made out like a bandit with her raises vs others who are getting the ax--
and don't believe the malarky that the cuts will not affect servuce--that is BS
unless a hospital is seriously OVER-staffed losing that many position is going to hurt ...
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:23 PM
 
Location: Louisiana
31 posts, read 102,728 times
Reputation: 15
Still lots of nursing jobs up for grabs in Sarasota on Monster. They will avoid cutting the nurses if they want to keep open...Nurses arent afraid to relocate if they try to short staff then the ugly hits the fan
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Old 08-15-2008, 10:26 PM
 
Location: Louisiana
31 posts, read 102,728 times
Reputation: 15
Why do hospitals always try to save money by cutting the low end workers jobs when the Biggest wastes are at the top.$!@$!)(@@$!!&(*&^
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Old 08-16-2008, 04:55 AM
 
Location: Anna Maria...moving to Sarasota soon
2 posts, read 4,564 times
Reputation: 10
Default Possible solution for those laid off

The sadness of this economy grows everyday. It is affecting everything . I have found a real business that can be done from home, and the earnings can be significant, certainly more than some of the hospital workers were earning. I am new to the forum and hope I haven't violated any rules by putting this here. If so, slap my wrist, and it won't happen again. If anyone wants to check out the web site, let me know.
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