College of Nursing
I heard the College of Nursing (CON) was under the threat of closing
even though they are still enrolling students. Is it safe to submit
your deposit for fall and turn down admission to another
CON is stronger than ever. Last year, CON expanded its Bachelor of
Science in Nursing (BSN) admissions to accept 60 students in both fall
and spring admission cycles. For this fall, MUSC had a record number of
applications from stellar candidates. In addition, applications
are being accepted for the existing Doctorate in Philosophy (Ph.D.)
program, new Doctors in Nursing Practices (DNP) program and Master of
Science in Nursing (MSN) programs in nursing education and nursing
administration. Perhaps what you have heard is that MUSC closed the
RN-BSN and RN-MSN programs (programs for associate degree nurses who
wish to earn another degree). These programs are not critical to CON's
mission, and a strategic decision was made to focus exclusively on the
exceptionally talented, accelerated BSN, MSN, DNP and Ph.D. students,
and continue to lead the state in these academic programs.
I heard that the hospital is looking at non-clinical employees to put
on the chopping block. Should it be expected that more people will lose
their jobs after evaluations in June or July?
This rumor is not true. While efforts will continue to achieve cost
savings and operational efficiencies in nonclinical areas, there are no
plans to put individuals on the “chopping block” after the June/July
Potholes at Hagood
Update — The potholes at the Hagood Parking lot have been patched.
An employee in my office was laid off. How much notice is given to an employee when they are to be laid off?
The university policy requires a minimum notification of two weeks for
a separation due to a formal reduction in force. However, when possible
a department may grant additional time (typically between 30 and 45
days) if there is adequate funding and justification to sustain the
position for that time.
Times floors are waxed
Why are floors waxed during high traffic times instead of the middle of the night when there are less staff and visitors?
Floor maintenance for the hospital is done in several ways: scrub and
burnish; scrub and top coat; or strip and refinish. Each successive
process requires more time than the previous one. Every effort is made
to schedule these processes at a convenient time considering patient
flow, activity levels and traffic patterns. Most public areas are
completed during off shifts whenever possible.
I hear that the staff of the chest pain center (CPC) cooks every day in the unit. Is this true?
It has just come to the manager’s attention (by way of your question)
that CPC staff has prepared food in the unit, primarily on weekends.
The manager has instructed them to remove all cooking-related items
except when there is a staff or department celebration. Cooking meals
daily is not allowed due to fire safety reasons.
Food on display in a la carte, cafeteria
I find it very infuriating to see food left on display in the hallway
before entering the cafeteria and in a la carte. A simple description
would be acceptable and less wasteful. I am sure the cost for throwing
out food is reflected in the prices that customers pay in the
The display plates are proven marketing tools that help customers make
decisions. Relative to sales volume, the food cost associated with
those displays is minimal.
Hospital service coordinators (HSC), staffing
I heard that when the HSCs review staffing for the shift, each unit is
supposed to be short a nurse by 0.5. I also heard that they are
encouraged to do so by getting a bonus for how much money they save the
hospital, and were advised to keep staffing under for budgeting
Answer: This rumor is not true.
Public posting of salaries
Can you tell me why employees of the Medical University Hospital
Authority (MUHA), which I understand is not a state-supported
institution, have their salaries posted in an online database?
While MUHA is not subject to the State Human Resources policies, MUHA
is a public state entity and subject to the Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA), which includes release of compensation information. The
enabling MUHA legislation also specifies MUHA is subject to the FOIA.
The release of FOIA compensation information is done in accordance with
Evening bus schedule concerns
The Mill has received several similar comments regarding the evening bus schedule. See the response below.
In response to the concerns raised about scheduling, University
Transportation Services supervisors and CARTA officials were asked to
observe both MUSC and CARTA evening bus activity to ensure compliance
with posted schedules. Corrective action is being taken to get the
buses back to the frequency necessary to meet rider needs. When MUSC
riders observe MUSC or CARTA buses deviating from the required
schedule, report observations directly to Steven Mengler at 577-5284.
The Office of Parking Management (OPM) has available parking for
immediate assignments in the Bee Street garage (one block from Ashley
River Tower). For information on these parking opportunities, call OPM
I heard people were contracted outside of the hospital to wax the
floors in ART. We can’t get pay raises, but we can contract to wax
care is required to be scheduled on a cyclic basis throughout the
medical center in order to maintain required cleanliness and appearance
standards and to provide protection to increase the life span of the
The university laboratories have been told they would have to begin
paying for the brown paper towels placed in the towel dispensers.
Shortly after this, physical plant began installing battery-powered
paper towel dispensers, and we’re told they will be refilled at no cost
to the labs. These rolls of bleached paper towels must certainly cost
more than bundles of brown paper. Add to that the expense of purchasing
the dispensers and their batteries, it’s very difficult to see how this
policy serves the university’s economic interests.
MUSC has reversed its decision to have laboratories pay for paper
towels in the labs for the remainder of this fiscal year. The method of
funding paper towels for the labs after June 30 will be a topic of
discussion during budget deliberations. The automatic paper roll
dispensers are provided and installed at no cost to the university. The
paper saved using the automated paper dispensing units across campus
more than offsets the slight additional cost of the white paper and the
cost of batteries. The decision has been made to allow labs to choose
to use either the automatic dispensing units, or the single fold brown
paper towels for the remainder of this fiscal year.
We often take care of very acute patients, more often than not the load
is heavy and we cannot take 30 minutes away from the unit for a break.
Aren’t we required to be covered in order to have our break?
HR Policy #9 Work Schedule states that all nonexempt (hourly) employees
are to be compensated for hours actually worked. Time worked excludes
meal periods and is meant to be actual time “on the job.” Meal periods
are generally 30 minutes in duration; however, in times of critical
staffing needs an employee may at times be required to work during
their assigned meal period. A nonexempt (hourly) employee must be
compensated if required to work through the meal period. “Breaks” are
not mandatory but, if granted, will be counted as work time.
Parking fees for patients
How much revenue has been collected since MUSC began charging patients for parking?
Based on revenue collected since patient-visitors began paying for
their first two hours of parking service in MUSC garages, MUHA will
save approximately $1.3 million per year.
I heard that MUSC will be doing away with tuition reimbursement for
employees. Is this true and if so will it affect current employees or
new hires only?
Answer: Currently there are no plans to eliminate the medical center’s tuition assistance program.
Sterile processing department
I heard that the Children’s Hospital sterile processing department
(SPD) is going to be moved to Ashley River Tower and that pharmacy will
be utilizing that space. Is any of this true?
We recently completed a study reviewing SPD processes in the main SPD
and ART SPD. The study was done because SPD in ART was designed and
built with extra SPD capacity for future medical center phase additions
on Courtenay. The final proposal is being reviewed and any decisions
will be communicated through the appropriate managers.
Overtime into compensation time
Why can‘t overtime be changed into compensation time? It would save
some money especially when over- time can‘t be avoided do to staffing
The payment of wages is regulated by the Department of Labor through
the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Management has been diligent in
reducing overtime in an effort to reduce expenditures; however FLSA
mandates that time worked by an employee more than 40 hours in a seven
day work week be paid at time and a half for nonexempt employees.
I heard that during the summer the cafeteria will be remodeled. Is this true?
the cafeteria servery and dining room will be renovated during the
summer months. Sodexo, MUSC's food service partner of 27 years, is
providing a substantial amount of the funding for this project. In
addition to the “front of the house” improvements, Sodexo’s At Your
Request (AYR) Room Service will be installed in the university hospital
to feed MUSC patients. Sodexo has had success with this concept at ART
and are very excited about bringing it across campus. There will be
many orientation sessions for staff to attend to learn more about AYR
Room Service in the coming months. Lastly, the kitchen and servery
exhaust hoods and duct work will be replaced. They are in poor
condition and could jeopardize the ability to prepare hot food for
patients and customers.
Overselling parking garage
Twice, I have been turned away from my paid, assigned parking facility
at the Rutledge Tower garage. Both times, the individual told me that
Parking Services oversold this parking facility and both times, I was
instructed to park in the patient Ashley/Rutledge parking garage. Both
times, it happened at approximately 11:30 a.m. so it can not be
contributed to the overlap of evening and night shifts. It does not
seem an ethical practice to oversell parking spaces when we pay the
outrageous fees for the right to park at this garage when it is not
all employee and student reserved parking locations are oversubscribed
to a certain extent, authorized parkers are guaranteed a space in their
assigned locations whenever they need it. MUSC is looking into the
factors and conditions which may have caused the problem. Call 792-2597.
Garage parking at Bee Street
I was wondering why the gates are always opened at the Bee Street
Garage, and yet I pay monthly to park there? I do not find it fair that
I have to pay to park there, yet there are many employees, students,
and City of Charleston citizens using this garage for free. I was told
that the gates had a problem reading the badges, yet nothing has been
done about this problem. Could you let us know when this problem will
There have been problems associated with the new gate access control
system at the Bee Street garage. Isolating the cause of the
interruption to gate communications has required us to place the gates
in the open and upright position, particularly during the last few
weeks, as the system is tested. The communications problem has been
identified, and MUSC expects repairs to be completed by the end of this
week. Barring any further system difficulties, MUSC expects normal
operations to be in place next week. It should be noted that depending
on events, activities, and other conditions the gates at any and all
MUSC parking lots and garages may be placed in the open and upright
position. MUSC relies on gates to increase their ability to
control/track use and to reduce the need for parking enforcement; but
when gates are not in service it does not mean parking by unauthorized
users is allowed. It is not. To the contrary, parking enforcement is
stepped up during these times. An MUSC parking decal, hang tag or
temporary permit must be displayed on all vehicles while parked in the
Bee Street garage. Parking enforcement officers have been working at
the Bee Street garage every day monitoring activity and enforcing this
The link for the fit testing schedule states that more dates will be
announced in late February or early March. I have not seen any more
dates posted. There is only one weekend posted. Many of us work only
nights, and not Sunday nights (so that we could be here Monday
mornings). Are there going to be more times available?
The expanded schedule has been posted on the intranet. MUSC has
performed 43 unit sessions since January and have 46 additional unit
classes set through May. MUSC will schedule additional night and Sunday
classes. The Sunday and night sessions already performed are at
When can we expect to hear how much tuition will go up next year for the College of Medicine, Nursing, etc.?
Normally, a decision would be made at the April meeting of the Board of
Trustees. This year, the situation is more complicated because it is
unclear whether the federal stimulus money for education will be
accepted by South Carolina and incorporated into our appropriation. At
the moment, state budgets are being prepared with and without the use
of these funds. Tuition decisions will have to be based upon the actual
appropriation level, and will be made as promptly thereafter as
I heard that the Studer group is finished with MUHA management and they
no longer have to follow Studer principles such as rounding, thank you
notes and recognizing employees.
This rumor is not true. During challenging times it’s more important
than ever for managers to round on employees and to express
appreciation for jobs well done.
Reproduced from http://www.carc.musc.edu/rumormill
Friday, April 10, 2009