Administrators taking closer look at hospital staffing levels

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 22, 2008

King’s Daughters Medical Center officials are reviewingdifferent methods for streamlining positions and hours worked atthe hospital following the recommendation of a professionalstaffing consultant.

KDMC Chief Executive Officer Alvin Hoover said the hospital isin the process of drafting a plan that would reorganize thehospital’s staffing levels and hours worked per position in orderto meet a target goal relative to the hospital’s patient volume.The hospital plans to accomplish the reorganization by cuttinghours or eliminating a few more part-time positions, or both, hesaid.

Hoover said hospital officials would look at the hours ofpart-time employees, like part-time registered nurses, to begin theprocess.

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“Occasionally, those folks will work more for you than we needthem to, and your regular folks won’t work enough,” he said. “We’relooking at that type of arrangement to see if we need to eliminatemore positions.”

Hoover said the staffing changes should be made by the end ofthe month. He said there is no blanket fix for the problem – asstaffing levels must remain commensurate with patient volumes – andhospital officials need time to think the reorganization through.The reorganization will require flexibility to meet patientneeds.

“We need to get where we completely understand these decisionsand we’re not making any rashly,” he said.

Earlier this month, KDMC implemented a plan for 40 employees inan effort to slash approximately $1 million from annualexpenditures. Officials said the cuts were necessary to make up forrevenue lost after a multi-year increase in bed debt from uninsuredemergency room patients and a lower-than-expected patient volumethroughout the summer.

A professional staffing consultant from Quorum Health Resources,a hospital management agency that employs Hoover, spent two days atKDMC last week meeting with department heads and reviewing staffingand patient volume data to determine a more efficient level ofemployment for the hospital.