Thursday, December 18, 2008

Layoffs Won't Help Satisfy Patients

Many hospitals these days are finding themselves in serious financial situations. Poor economic conditions are resulting in fewer patients and/or lower payments that just don't cover costs. Unfortunately, the first thing hospitals tend to do is cut staff.

Please don't.

Here are a few reasons why:

1. It hurts morale. Poor morale hurts patient satisfaction. Poor patient satisfaction hurts admissions. Nobody wants to hear about layoffs from a stressed-out transportation aide as they're getting wheeled to the OR. Besides, we already wait long enough on hold and get lost in the hallways too many times without rescue.
2. Many areas are already understaffed, causing strains on processes that result in failures and errors.
3. Severance pay is expensive.
4. Should you need the staff back, it is costly to recruit, rehire and re-train.

We've provided some alternatives to cutting staff that hospitals may consider first. We hope staff cuts will be a last resort and only considered after careful analysis and consideration of the long-term consequences.

In the meantime, we'll monitor patient satisfaction scores on to see if any trends pop up from hospitals who've implemented layoffs.

1 comment:

  1. The Detroit Medical Center, Detroit, MI has the right idea. According to Crain's Detroit Business the hospital system has announced they will not be making any layoffs.

    DMC CEO Mike Duggan was quoted as saying "Deferring management raises and providing good service should keep DMC humming along."

    The DMC has been strictly managing expenses and emphasizing patient satisfaction for some time, resulting in a major turnaround to profitability in recent years.

    Kudos, DMC.