Layoffs begin at Maria Parham

Maria Parham Medical Center recently began implementation of a corporate-wide efficiency plan that will help to strengthen the facility’s position as the area’s leading healthcare provider.

The medical center has experienced financial losses over the past year, citing the rising costs of providing healthcare, a struggling economy, declining reimbursements and the need to improve the hospital’s facilities and technology as key factors.

When Home in Henderson visited the hospital on Wednesday, it was noted that part of the old tower structure appeared to be undergoing interior construction. When David Ruggles, Director of Marketing and Community Relations was asked whether or not construction was ongoing, he stated that parts of the old tower are not being used at the present time.

“When we decide what to do with it, we’ll totally renovate it,” Ruggles stated.

On Thursday, July 27th, hospital administration announced changes which include organizational restructuring, staff reductions and modifications in processes and procedures that are designed to address those factors.

In early 2006, Maria Parham’s Board of Directors voted to authorize management to contract with FTI Cambio Healthcare Solutions to assess the hospital’s opportunities for improvement in a number of areas. Cambio, a national consulting firm that specializes in developing financial and operational plans, began a twelve month project in June 2006 with the goal of improving the hospital’s overall performance, both clinically and financially. Maria Parham management and the Cambio team have worked alongside employees and physicians to develop a plan that would strengthen the hospital’s financial position while improving overall healthcare delivery. Using national benchmarks, staffing levels were compared with other hospitals that ranked in the top 25th percentile. In addition to staffing, the hospital is addressing other improvement opportunities including managed care contracts, revenue cycle issues, physician practices, case management and the supply chain.

Thursday, the medical center eliminated 31 positions across the organization, many effective immediately. Employees will have an opportunity to apply for open positions in the facility and will receive a separation package. Additionally, seven vacant positions were eliminated. The total number of employees at Maria Parham after the reductions is approximately 620 people. For comparison, Maria Parham had 593 employees in 2003. Even with these reductions, Maria Parham continues to employ more people today than it did just three years ago.

Bob Singletary, President/CEO of Maria Parham states, “It is unfortunate whenever an employee is released. We will make efforts to help each employee. As for Maria Parham’s mission, I do want to reiterate that Maria Parham is committed to serving Henderson and the surrounding communities. Maria Parham has seen positive growth for many years. However, now is the time to get more productive and financially stable. We are confident that you will soon see a better, stronger Maria Parham Medical Center.”

Several services at Maria Parham will also see changes. Due to the need to inform the patients or people affected by the changes, these services will not be announced at this time. A complete list of the affected services will be offered next week.

Home in Henderson has learned that the District 9 Sexual Assault Program which operated out of Maria Parham is no longer providing services. Part of the function of the program was to examine sexual assault victims and gather physical evidence. It is unclear if the discontinuation of the program is due to cutbacks at the hospital.

Other changes occurring at Maria Parham will positively impact processes and procedures such as patient flow and billing. Cambio’s knowledge of best practices in similar sized hospitals across the country will enable the hospital to implement them. Not surprisingly, facilities going through similar changes have found that their overall quality of care often increases with the adoption of industry-wide best practices.

Ray Meeks, Chairman of Maria Parham’s Board of Directors states, “It is the Board’s belief that we need to be proactive and that these changes will best position Maria Parham Medical Center to be a viable healthcare resource for the citizens of our community for a long, long time.”