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MUSCMedical LinksCharleston LinksArchivesCatalyst AdvertisersSeminars and EventsResearch StudiesPublic RelationsResearch GrantsMUSC home pageCommunity HappeningsCampus NewsApplause


MUSC Rumor Mill separates fact from fiction

Clinical & Transitional Science Award (CTSA)
What is the status of the CTSA grant? Is this effort going to be abandoned due to the budget crisis?
Answer: The CTSA grant was submitted in October. MUSC plans to carry forward with this critical initiative, which if successful will bring more resources into the university, and will position the university to be more competitive in the future.

Potential layoffs
I heard that MUSC is waiting until after the first of the year (2009) to proceed with layoffs. And the reason for this is so that the unemployment benefits will be exhausted and MUSC will not have to pay out for unemployment. Any weight to this?
Answer: There is no truth to the rumor that MUSC would time any personnel decisions in order to affect unemployment benefits. Every effort is being made to reduce the burden on employees rather than add to it. The time delay in announcing any budget decisions is because it takes time to develop responsible plans. The university is drawing upon the knowledge and expertise of leaders throughout the campus in putting this plan together, allowing each unit to implement solutions that make the most sense given their sources of funding and their responsibilities.

Given the current financial crisis of MUSC, how come the library has bought a Wii? Seems like a toy not related to education shouldn’t be paid for with state budget funds
Answer: The library did purchase one Wii to encourage students to exercise and reduce stress. It was purchased before the recent drastic budget cuts were announced. The library would not have made the purchase had the magnitude of the cuts been apparent at that time.

Bonuses, raises
I have seen several rumors  describing that the hospital administrators are not getting raises (like the rest of us) but I heard they are still getting bonuses. Is this true?
Answer: This is not true.

LCD screens in the hospital elevators
I understand that ads can be purchased and placed on the mini TVs in the main hospital elevators? If this is true, it is a good use of ingenuity to raise capital for the hospital. If not, what is the purpose of these LCD screens with ads?
Answer: The LCDs in the elevators will be used to promote MUSC-based messaging such as pharmacy services, the new Pediatric ED location, MUSC national research rankings and other points of interest.
Some preliminary discussions have taken place regarding using the LCDs as a revenue producing tool for advertising by appropriate organizations or businesses, however there are a number of issues to be considered and no approval has been given.

State employee furlough
I heard that all state employees are going to be going on a mandatory, unpaid, furlough for two weeks sometime in the near future. Is this true, and if so, how can the university/hospital continue to operate without these essential employees?
Answer: This rumor is false. Two weeks of furlough has never been contemplated, and as has been communicated, any furlough needs to take into account essential clinical and research functions that must continue to operate.

MUSC Excellence
Given MUSC's current budget crisis, why are the MUSC Excellence meetings off campus when they could be done on campus? Also, is MUSC still paying the Studer Group to help with our pillars of Excellence?
Answer: The MUSC Excellence program is vital to the continued march to Excellence in the College of Medicine (COM), university, and hospital. The COM is committed to this proven process of quality enhancement. However, COM and UMA leadership have decided that in the current financial times the contract with the Studer organization will not be renewed.

Work Only Weekend (WOW) option
The work only weekend option is being renewed every three months instead of every six. Is there a plan to discontinue the weekend option?
Answer: There is no plan to suspend or discontinue the WOW program, but it will be reviewed quarterly. Every effort will be made to provide as much notice as possible should it be necessary to temporarily suspend or discontinue the program.

Energy savings through turning off lights?
I know that turning off incandescent bulbs does save energy. I tend to turn off the lights when leaving rooms across campus. However, when I suggested this to a fellow employee, I was told that the energy required for the starter on florescent bulbs greatly outweighed the expense of just leaving the lights on. Is it true that there is no savings when you turn florescent bulbs off and on due to the energy required to “start” the bulbs? Should I continue to perform this activity?
Answer: The fluorescent lighting technology currently in place throughout the majority of the campus uses an electronic ballast that is fully recovered after only a five second recover start up. Given this very limited amount of time and energy use to restart the electronic ballasts, it is energy and cost efficient to turn these lights off whenever rooms are not in use.

Annual leave
Is it true that annual leave can not be cashed in?
Answer: Yes, it’s true. Paid time off (PTO) cash-in is subject to the availability of funding. This year MUHA did not have adequate cash to enable the cash-in. See PTO policy #18.

CNL compensation
I want to know if you are giving the CNL compensation for their increased responsibility in the registered nurse position before I put my time and effort into providing a higher standard of care within this hospital.
Answer: There are no plans to change compensation for advancing to a CNIII at this time.

University furlough plan
The university’s plan for dealing with state budget cuts involves furloughs for 1,200 employees. What about the rest of the workforce at the university—why are they exempted and is this fair, especially since many of the excluded employees have much larger salaries?
Answer: A number of individuals have written the Rumor Mill with questions about the furloughs that were announced earlier last week. Many of the rumors deal with the rationale for not implementing across the board furloughs. Some appear to have been stimulated by inaccurate or incomplete coverage by the media. Each unit was tasked with developing a plan to reduce its budgets in accordance with its unique set of missions and personnel. Five major units chose to implement a four-day furlough, which affects about 1,200 employees. All employees of those units (MUSC Library, College of Nursing, College of Dental Medicine, Academic Affairs (research and student support areas), and Finance and Administration (deans, vice presidents, clinicians and researchers) must take the furlough. The other units chose to use a variety of different methods to reach their budget targets. It is an oversimplification to state that people were spared from furloughs simply because they work in clinical areas or hold research grants, although units with many researchers and many clinicians factored in possible lost revenue when deciding whether to implement furloughs. Many of those not furloughed have expressed a desire to contribute personally to assist their fellow employees. Indeed, about 300 individuals have volunteered to take furloughs or pay reductions to assist their units to reach budgetary reduction goals. Additionally, the MUSC Foundation has set up a fund to provide assistance to those who will have hardships as a result of the furloughs. Visit

Reproduced from

Friday, Dec. 5, 2008

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.