Staffing, operational changes will save $8.7 million for Central Health…no layoffs, no change in quality of services
Central Health has examined its operations and has found a number of ways to become more efficient and as a result, saving money – to the tune of $8.7 million.
© Andrea Gunn
Central Health interim CEO addressed media on Thursday about changes to the health authority’s operations that will save a total of $8.7 million annually. The changes were implemented based on a benchmark study that highlighted inefficiencies in the organization’s staffing and operations.
The regional health authority’s interim CEO Rosemarie Goodyear announced during a press conference in Grand Falls-Windsor on Thursday, and to its own staff earlier the same day, that it had completed a benchmarking study on its operations and has already begun to implement changes in order to improve efficiency.
A consulting firm compared Central Health’s operations to other health organizations considered to be top tier for efficiency in certain areas in order to highlight inefficiencies. Central Health performed well in certain benchmark areas, such as its intensive care unit, human resources, housekeeping, and health records. Others, such as food service, diagnostic imaging, endoscopy and plant operations were found to be inefficient and in need of improvement.
Through making changes to its operations and staff, Goodyear said Central Health has found $8.7 million in annual savings, $5.7 million of which has already been saved through completed or in-progress initiatives. The other $3 million will be forthcoming as other, more long-term changes are implemented.
One of the main ways Central Health will save money is through full-time equivalent reductions. The authority plans to make a total of 76 full-time equivalent reductions, 42 of which have been completed or are in progress. Goodyear stressed these reductions will not mean layoffs for staff, but rather will be achieved through hour reduction and attrition.
Goodyear said this will not negatively impact the workload of staff or patient care in any way.
“A lot of the things we’ve done are around changing scheduling patterns, lining up scheduling so our scheduling aligns with the demand,” Goodyear said.
The Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor health services area have been given the most reductions with 16 full-time equivalents affected in each. Reduction of hours will take place in areas like sick leave relief, overtime, and constant observation.
Of the 76 full-time equivalent reductions, hospital support workers will see the most with 29 core and 13 non-core full-time equivalent reductions. This is out of approximately 1,200 full-time equivalent positions in the support worker category as a whole. Central Health is also reducing management full time equivalents by 21.
Central Health has also begun implementing money-saving changes in other areas, such as relying on free forms of advertising for its tenders, and cutting its printing where possible — two initiatives that will save the organization $57,000 annually. Substituting generic drugs for brand name ones is another cost-saving measure that will save Central Health $135,000 annually.
Central Health will also save money by cutting back cafeteria hours in Gander and Grand Falls-Windsor to better align with the demand for services. In the procurement sector, buying certain equipment outright instead of renting will result in savings of $73,000. Renegotiation of contracts was also a big money saver for Central Health. Renegotiation the organization’s food service and undergarment supplier contracts alone has saved Central Health $224,000.
I want to reassure the citizens of the central region that the initiatives we are implementing will not have an impact on the quality and safety of the care we provide. Rosemary Goodyear (Central Health CEO)
The health authority is also now sharing paramedic services between Green Bay Health Centre in Springdale, and the Baie Verte Health Centre in Baie Verte. Goodyear said this will not impact the speed or quality of ambulance services, and the two entities will work together closely to ensure the needs of patients are met.
Goodyear said while Central Health is well on its way to reaching that $8.7 million savings mark, there is no strict timelines in place for meeting that goal.
“Some things we were able to do very quickly, other things needed more study in terms of feasibility, and they will require longer timeframes to implement based on the very nature of the initiative,” Goodyear said.
Goodyear said these changes, and the resulting money saved, is an extremely positive thing for Central Health, and will be of great benefit to the health authority and its patients in the long run.
“I want to reassure the citizens of the central region that the initiatives we are implementing will not have an impact on the quality and safety of the care we provide, and in fact result in a more efficient delivery of services.” Goodyear said.
“We will closely monitor the actions we are taking to ensure that.”
By the numbers
In 2012-’13 fiscal Central Health saved:
$300,000 in sick leave relief
$1.6 million in overtime
$100,000 in constant observation
$200,000 in orientation costs
In 2013-’14 fiscal year Central health will save:
$27,000 in advertising
$30,000 in printing
$135,000 by using generic drugs
$73,000 by purchasing rather than renting machines used for wound care
$224,000 by renegotiating contracts with our food services supplier and our undergarment supplier
$157,000 through HealthPro provincial group purchasing
$30,000 by changing one type of wound care dressing to another equally suitable type of dressing
$150,000 by hiring staff and reducing service contracts
$75,000 through purchase of voice recognition system, thereby eliminating need to outsource transcription
$51,000 in savings achieved through cross-training staff and ensuring adequate float pools