MUSC The Catalyst
MUSC arial view


MUSCMedical LinksCharleston LinksArchivesCatalyst AdvertisersSeminars and EventsResearch StudiesPublic RelationsResearch GrantsCatalyst PDF FileMUSC home pageCommunity HappeningsCampus NewsApplause

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


MUSC Rumor Mill separates fact from fiction

Are budget cuts counterproductive?
Conversations on campus lead to the question, “Are budget cuts counterproductive?” Since MUSC is the largest employer in Lowcountry, the cut- backs on labor cost will continue to spread the ripples of recession throughout the area.
Answer: The university has tried to respond to the current budget challenges in ways that sustain its core operations, while protecting the jobs of people who work here and limiting further harm to the local economy. Every effort will be made to continue to protect jobs, but further cuts in state funding will make this challenge even greater.

ART employee shuttle
There have been several postings requesting information about changes to ART's employee shuttle.
Answer: On Jan. 5, coverage for transportation of employees between Clinical Sciences Building (CSB) and ART was transferred to MUSC Meducare Transportation Services. The Patient Family Shuttle routes were altered so there is a direct route from CSB to ART. Pickup and Drop-Off will continue to be at the CSB Jonathan Lucas entrance and at ART. Hours of operation will remain 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The Meducare Patient Family Shuttle and employee shuttle's new routes are listed below. The frequency of each shuttle represents the time for travel and stops.
  • The first shuttle will be dedicated between ART and Rutledge Tower, with stops at each location approximately every 10 minutes. This is the highest patient and family volume.
  • A second shuttle will transport between ART, Hollings Cancer Center, and CSB ramp, with stops at each location approximately every 15-20 minutes.
  • The third shuttle will transport between ART, McClennan Banks, Hollings Cancer Center, CSB ramp, and Rutledge Tower with stops at each location approximately every 30 minutes.
With these changes it is not necessary for employees to request shuttle service. All buses will have the stops posted on the entry doors. For questions, call 792-1169.

Parking lots’ waiting lists
How are the waiting lists for parking lots managed?
Answer: Due to the volume of work associated with filling the new Bee Street Garage and making assignments from various waiting lists to fill spaces vacated elsewhere in the system, the data entry required to update position numbers on the waiting list is secondary to making parking assignments. Deletions to the waiting list, which result in changed position numbers for those remaining on the list, must sometimes be made in groups. But the fact that the position numbers of the employees remaining on the waiting lists may not change daily or even weekly does not affect the assignment process. Office of Parking Management (OPM ) staff conduct empty-space counts in all employee parking facilities on a twice-daily basis at a time as close to the time of peak occupancy as possible. All employee facilities are over sold; but even so a few—Harborview Tower garage, Lockwood surface lot and the Bee Street garage—now have empty spaces throughout the day. All who have expressed interest in parking in these facilities have been offered an assignment, and no waiting lists for them remain. When an employee has a temporary disability, OPM policy is to make a temporary parking assignment for the duration of the disability. A temporary condition does not elevate the employee for a permanent assignment ahead of others on the waiting list. If anyone has a question or suggestion, contact Melinda Anderson, director, at 792-2597.

College of Medicine budget cuts
Is it true that the College of Medicine (COM) administration has decided to help balance the budget by cutting basic science positions and having affected courses taught by clinical science faculty?
Answer:  The College of Medicine is planning to deal with the state  budget cuts by considering all alternatives to accomplishing the core missions of the college. Plans on how to  accomplish these mission critical objectives were addressed at a COM leadership retreat on Jan. 31. It is premature to anticipate the outcome of this planning and the effect on the faculty and students. Obviously, there will be some changes in the way COM continues to offer educational  programs for students since there are marked budget reductions.

Pay raise
I heard new nurse graduates are getting a pay increase from $22 to $22.80.
Answer: This is true. For information, contact your manager or Lynn Campbell, manager of employment and compensation, at 792-1684.

Nursing rooms
I heard there were several rooms set up within the hospital for nursing mothers. Will there be any set up in any other buildings?
Answer: There are no plans at this time to have a designated room in additional buildings. Please speak with your supervisor for assistance in identifying a suitable location.

Paid Time Off (PTO)
I heard that employees cannot cash out PTO related to recent economic hardships. But what happens if an employee voluntarily leaves MUSC for another job? What happens to your PTO then?
Answer: If an employee leaves employment then he/she is paid for any accrued PTO up to a maximum of 360 hours.

Technician raises and traveling nurses
I know that clinical associates received a raise for this year and that traveling nurses have been in the new orientation. I am a medical assistant technician and wondered, as a technician, why haven't I  received a raise and why are traveling nurses being hired when they are expensive?
Answer: The medical center is utilizing a limited amount of traveling nurses to meet patient care needs. Questions regarding pay increases should be directed to your manager or by calling 792-1684.

Parking in Rutledge Tower Garage
The parking in Rutledge Tower Garage needs to be enforced. Who is responsible for this? I was also told that tickets are being written for illegal parking, but the same ones have been illegally parking every day in the same spot for the past several months.
Answer: OPM holds primary responsibility for parking enforcement in employee and student parking facilities. Vehicles of employees who are authorized to park in the facility but which are parked in such a way they occupy more than one parking space are not parking illegally but are parking improperly. As such, they are subject to receiving a warning citation followed by a $10 citation if the violation continues. If there is an enforcement issue that needs to be addressed, contact Brenda Marcelais, OPM parking enforcement supervisor, at 478-7022.

Rutledge Tower valet parking
Do the employees who work for valet parking at Rutledge Tower get to park their personal vehicles in the parking lot for free?
Answer: Valet employees are not authorized to park their personal vehicles in valet storage areas. They are required to make their own parking arrangements outside of the MUSC system.

Ala Cart
I heard from the employees that the manager of Ala Cart is making them wear T-shirts with Martin Luther King and Obama on it during Black History Month.
Answer: Employees within the Dietary Department asked for permission to wear Martin Luther King Jr. T-shirts to celebrate the life and accomplishments of Dr. King. Employees who voluntarily purchase the shirts will be allowed to wear them during the month of February.

Since MUSC supports its employees with the use of CARTA, are they working with CARTA to  resolve the issues it has with being late all of the time?
Answer: MUSC officials work directly with CARTA administration to identify and, wherever possible, correct schedule problems occurring with the CARTA system. Whenever an MUSC CARTA rider observes these types of persistent problems, report the details to CARTA at Also, send the details to John Runyon, MUSC director of business services at Specify the date, time, route, and the location on the route. Having the bus number and the driver's name also helps.

Can a manager force you to use the required furlough days when the manager wants you to use them (within the required time frame, of course) or is it to be treated similar to annual leave, using it when it best suits you and your department?
Answer: Furlough leave is similar to annual leave in that it is requested by the employee, but is subject to supervisory approval based on the specific needs of the department.

Turn Lights Off stickers
In the last couple of months I have noticed a lot of campaigning to make sure lights are turned off when leaving a room. Recently, where I work, someone came around and put stickers onto the light switches. If we are in such a money crunch and people are having to take furloughs why are we wasting money on these stickers?
Answer: If the stickers help remind people to turn off lights, MUSC will save far more than the cost of the stickers. The stickers cost $1,526.40. The savings from disciplined light switch protocol could exceed $250,000 annually.

Employee listing
A friend of mine tried to call me yesterday, but did not know my direct line. He asked the operator for assistance and she told him she did not have a list of employees that work here. I think there should be a current employee list available to the operators at all times.
Answer: The Call Center objective is focused on business related calls though the attempt is made to assist personal inquiries as well.  The Call Center is not able to keep a complete roster of  employees. They do, however, receive daily reports from University Communications, HRM for Terminations and monthly updates from MUSC’s online directory and manually enter them as appropriate. For this reason,  department supervisors are encouraged to update the online directory. This directory also is available online to outside users. In emergencies, the staff will assist the caller with these options and, if the search fails, forward the caller to Human Resources Management. The operators do know how to handle emergent requests. For personal routine calls, it is each employee's responsibility to ensure friends and families know how to reach you.

ART Cafeteria soup quality
ART cafeteria seems to be skimping on ingredients in its soups. The last two times the soup was mainly broth even though one was supposed to be garden vegetable and the other white chili. It would be nice when paying for a bowl of soup to actually get something substantial.
Answer: The staff in the cafeteria has not cut back on ingredients in the soups in any of MUSC facilities. The soup stations are set up for self service, so it is possible that the bulk of the ingredients have been “picked out” before you got to it. Tell a manager that the soup looks like it needs to be changed and the staff will  pay closer attention to the stations.

Is the 2TCU going to close or be phased out?
Answer: There are no plans to phase out or close the TCU at this time. The TCU provides valuable service and exceptional care to those medical center patients who no longer need an “acute level “ of care, but who are not ready or able to transfer home or to another skill level.

Jan. 6 Currents
Now that it has been determined that MUSC will need to pay Medicaid back for the previous years of overpayment, how many jobs are estimated to be eliminated within the next few months?
Answer: There are no plans to eliminate jobs as a result of MUHA having to pay back previous Medicaid overpayments that were made to all hospitals; however, plans are to continue initiatives to reduce costs and operate more efficiently.

Furlough Relief Fund
Is it true and what are the requirements to sign up for help through the Furlough Relief Fund?
Answer: Yes, there is a fund for university employees impacted by the furloughs but an application is not necessary. Payouts to many impacted by the furlough will be made based on income level of the individual and the amount of contributions received into the fund at the time payouts are to be made. See the story on the Furlough Relief Fund on page 6 of The Catalyst.

Is it true that stamps are not sold on campus?
Answer: The US Postal Service postmaster for Charleston directed the removal of postage vending machines. This decision was made to meet cost containment goals of the Postal Service.

Published rumors
I heard that many rumors do not get published. Everyone’s rumors should be addressed and published. Change cannot occur if people's voices are not heard.
Answer: The Rumor Mill ground rules stipulate that rumors that have campuswide implication will receive first priority. They also state that rumors discrediting individuals or posing direct questions that replicate information already available from other public sources will not receive a response. Also, similar rumors may receive a single response. Therefore, not all rumors will receive a direct response. Refer to the posted ground rules for information.

Reduction in costs
Is it true that MUSC (MUHA) is looking at the possibility of letting ‘long(er) time’ employees go so they can hire more inexperienced staff to replace them at a lower pay rate in order to save money? 
Answer: There is no truth to this rumor.

Starbucks vs. Maxwell House
I heard that in order to cut back on expenses, Starbucks is serving Maxwell House instead of Starbucks brand coffee. Is this true?
Answer: No. This is not true. Starbucks coffee is the brand served in the Starbucks Cafe.

Meet and Greet
If we are concerned about expenses, then what about the expense of the greeters on the first floor in the main hospital who, with a smile, wish  us “Good morning?” Are they volunteers or paid staff?
Answer: The MUSC Excellence Integrated Standards Team that has representation by all the entities now involved with the pursuit of MUSC Excellence sponsors the monthly Meet and Greet. The opportunity is conducted one day per month from 8 a.m. to noon. Participants are employees who volunteer to demonstrate the Standard of Behaviors.  While the Meet and Greets were created to impact MUSC patients and visitors satisfaction, the unexpected outcome was the impact on the employees who volunteer. The feedback received was  positive in that the volunteers feel more connected to the organization as a whole. The expense  for the Meet and Greet is minimal compared to the return on the investment of reaching out to patients, visitors and the volunteers’ satisfaction.

If an employee is reprimanded for being rude should that employee be told what they did in hopes that they won't make the same mistake again?
Answer: As part of the counseling session, it is appropriate to describe to the employee an incident in which he or she did not meet expectations and how to better handle the situation in the future.

MUHA, MUSC merging to go private?
I have heard that the university and medical center are planning to merge. Is this true?
Answer: There is no plan to merge.


Friday, Feb. 6, 2009

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.