Hospital's belt tightening efforts successful

The Memorial Hospital expects savings of more than $600,000 with new efficiency plan

The Memorial Hospital has a plan to help it operate more efficiently, which will save money in the long run and could net the county health care facility $600,000 in savings.

In a presentation to the Hospital board Wednesday night, Administrator Randy Phelps discussed the hospital's implementation of the Rapid Cycle Cost Reduction Project.

"This is a 100-day update on how the strategies we've applied have helped us improve upon our performance trend," Phelps said. "The picture for 1999-2000 was not pretty, but with what the Quorum conference taught us in December, we've looked to improve that."

There are three strategies the hospital is following, Phelps said. The first is cost reductions that can be captured in 100 days, the second is reductions that can be achieved in six months and the third is cost reductions that won't be seen for nine months or more.

"Our goal was to find $500,000 that we could have in place by Dec. 31. In strategy 1, we identified $300,000 in expanses that could be saved. With strategy 2, we had our managers reevaluate their 2001 budgets, and we were able to save another $316,000," Phelps said. "We still have work to do to make these savings a reality. We need to monitor the initiatives we have in place, pursue the opportunities we have not yet implemented, follow through on our Ramp team efforts, and keep everyone informed so we can move forward.

"With the actions we've taken now, we will see a savings of approximately $660,000 for this year."

There are still several opportunities for savings that will be pursued, both immediate and long term as various contracts or plans are adjusted. The total savings could reach as high as $886,000 if every idea or plan works, Phelps said.

"We are looking to keep picking off the low hanging fruit, the quick steps that show us immediate savings while we're moving forward on the larger, more complicated initiatives."

In other business, the Hospital Board

Approved the purchase of the home and property at 710 Russell St., for $92,000.

Discussed the presentation Phelps made to the surrounding residents concerning the possible construction of a new hospital, and the options to be examined.

"I was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs, but the meeting went OK," Phelps said.

Heard a report from Performance Improvement Director Betsy Bair on the hospital's efforts to improve patient care. Several quality and health factors were examined. With medication errors at less than 2 percent and dropping, infection rates at 1 percent for this quarter, anesthesia criteria failure also at less than 2 percent, which are all below or well below national averages, the quality of care for patients at TMH is above average now and still improving, Bair said.

Approved the plan to pave the lot directly to the south of the hospital for approximately $6,500, pending city approval.

Tabled further consideration of the counter offer concerning the School Administration Building and appraisal and/or negotiations for lots until the hospital has received a preliminary blueprint of the proposed new facility, which will be available mid-June.

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