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MUSC Medical Links Charleston Links Archives Catalyst Advertisers Seminars and Events Research Studies Public Relations Research Grants MUSC home page Community Happenings Campus News Applause



To Medical Center Employees

This week we wrapped up a series of medical center town hall meetings. Our meetings are one of the methods we use to communicate with everyone. More than 1,400 individuals attended the town hall meetings.

Our 5 & 5 cost savings plans were discussed during the town hall meetings. Within the last six months, service line administrators, physician leaders, other members of the management team and staff have been engaged in preparing more than 279 5 & 5 plans. We are using the IMPROVE performance improvement tool to structure and present the 5 & 5 plans.

The 5 & 5 plans are intended to reduce the cost of care by 5 percent this year and 5 percent next year while improving quality of care. The medical center's operating budget is approximately $1 billion and our goal is to reduce costs by $100 million. Fiscal year 2009 is being used as the base year. We will be providing updates on cost reductions achieved as we move forward.

As discussed in the town hall meetings, the Medicaid funding outlook gives us a sense of urgency to make progress with our cost reduction initiatives. A substantial amount of the medical center's revenue (approximately $200 million or 20 percent) is from Medicaid reimbursement. In addition, health care reform on the national level will likely adversely affect our reimbursement levels in the future.

The Medicaid funding issue is being addressed by the S.C. House of Representatives and Senate. A proviso that once protected rates for providers, including hospitals and physicians, could no longer be in effect in the future. Indications are the state legislature will give the state director of Health and Human Services full discretion to lower Medicaid funding rates. We anticipated cuts next fiscal year, but it is possible cuts willl also be made this fiscal year. Total funding reductions could be in the range of 10 percent and this would present a major challenge for us.

In addition to our 5 & 5 plans, two weeks ago we announced a freeze on this year's capital purchases unless essential for patient care and safety; delaying the fiscal year 2012 capital review process; limiting hiring to only the most urgently needed positions; monitoring of staffing versus workload to eliminate any staffing variance; and freeze on out-of-state travel. Also, as discussed during the town hall meetings, we need everyone's attention to reduce overtime unless absolutely essential for patient care.

On a related matter, during the management communication meeting this week we announced a number of human resources-related cost savings measures and we expect to announce more in the weeks ahead. Details are included in this newsletter.

Everyone's support is needed at this time. Leaders should include an explanation of the "why" as they round on staff and conduct departmental meetings. By pulling together, consistently applying MUSC Excellence best practices and providing quality care we will weather the storm. In the long run, the MUSC medical center will be a stronger academic medical center.

W. Stuart Smith
Vice President for Clinical Operations
and Executive Director, MUSC Medical Center

People–Fostering employee pride and loyalty

pillarEmployees of the Month
Alison Spencer, a university hospital guest services representative, was nominated by Katy Kuder.

Susan Petterson and Linda Bredewater, both of ART Pharmacy Services, were nominated by Hazel Marie Huff.

HR update
Helena Bastian, MUHA Human Resources director, and Kim Duncan, manager of HR information systems, presented the following topics:

MUHA HR has a new newsletter which will contain a summary of information covered at the bi-monthly hospital communications meeting. The newsletter will be posted on the HR website.

An updated timeline is available via SuccessFactors training/reference page. This includes dates for 360 Staff Peer Reviews, Customer Service surveys, HML conversations and annual reviews. Visit

There are three additional fields in Employee Files/My Employee File tab. Supervisors and employees can see pay grade, annual salary, and hourly rate. Visit

My Records
Employees who have short-term disability through MUHA can now see it in MyBenefits section of MyRecords. Visit

Employees may view their pay grade in MyPayStub section of MyRecords. The pay grade is visible on the main MyPayStub page, which is used to select a pay stub for viewing.

Benefit Update—Medical Spending Accounts
Reminder to close out 2010 Medical Spending accounts

If you have an unused balance in 2010, you can use qualified expenses incurred up through March 15, 2011 to absorb these dollars. Be sure to communicate this on claim paperwork

Employees have until March 31 to submit documentation to corroborate qualified expenses made in 2010

Request to lift "Do Not Re-Hire"
Requirements for Consideration— Previous employees must have separated from MUSC medical center for a minimum of one year

Previous employee must have recent continuous employment in a similar/comparable full-time position for a minimum of one year since being employed at MUSC.

Previous employee must provide a current employee performance evaluation.

Previous employee must provide a letter on company letterhead from their current supervisor/manager addressing reason for "do not hire" status.

A new ADA form is available on the MUHA HR website.

Human Resources related Cost Saving Measures—The following initial set Human Resources related cost saving measures was announced. MUHA will continue to evaluate programs and identify other cost saving measures.

They are: moving expense (relocation assistance) is limited to critical, hard-to-fill positions; referral program—suspend immediately, prior commitments will be grandfathered; performance bonus–suspend immediately; hiring bonus—suspend immediately; prior commitments will be grandfathered; PTO Cash in–suspend immediately, PTO conversion to ESL will be considered at a later date.

Changes to HR Policy #18-Paid Time off (PTO)
Eligible employees will automatically have up to 12 ESL hours transferred to SML, which will be reflected in the first pay period beginning in the new calendar year.

SML balance may not exceed 24 hours. (Employees with balances of more than 24 hours as of Dec. 31 will not be eligible to transfer additional hours. Balances exceeding 24 will not be cut off).

Benefit of the Month—March
Nutrition and the Good Eats program is the benefit for March.

Recycling and Sustainability Program
Caroline Davila, Engineering & Facilities, presented steps taken by the department and the Sustainability and Recyling Program to reduce the campus' carbon footprint. Earlier, MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., signed the President's Climate Commitment, which commits the campus to conduct an annual greenhouse gas inventory and adopt a climate action plan. Davila thanked employees for contributing to significant the utility management program. Fiscal year 2010 saw a savings of 2.25 million kilowatts in overall yearly usage. Visit

Quality—Providing quality patient care in a safe environment
pillarPat Gaylor, Quality and Safety specialist, shared details about 2011 National Patient Safety Week, March 6-12. Last week, ART's GI Medical/Surgical Clinics were recognized for their hand hygiene awareness campaign. Others recognized included the Neurosurgical ICU, Neurology/Neurosurgery Unit 9W and Pediatric ICU. In February, the Transitional Care Unit was recognized for their wanderguard system, On Firm Ground campaign and activation of bed alarms to prevent patient falls. The Pediatric ICU was praised for avoiding ventilator-associated pneumonia.

This year's Patient Safety Week's focus will be on patients, families and health care providers and their commitment to be partners in their care. Patients and families will be given information on steps to follow when visiting with health care providers to include hand hygiene and medications check.

Avatar Patient Safety Goal-FY 2011
Joan Herbert, director of Organizational Performance, reviewed revised Service Pillar goals for all areas now using Avatar, a new patient satisfaction measurement tool that replaces Press Ganey for all areas other than Pediatric Inpatient Units and Pediatric Emergency Department. Instead of using percentile rankings, the Avatar system uses a star rating system based on normal distribution of across the database – Three stars – score is in the "middle of the pack;" four stars is "above average" and five stars represents a statistical difference above the database average (2+ standard deviation of the database average). Star ratings are based on rolling 12 months worth of data to calculate ratings. For FY 2011, individual goals based on overall mean score for the applicable area(s). Managers were asked to remind all departmental/ unit employees of the need to update the Service Goals in their planning stage for this year due to the change in Patient Survey Vendor. In addition, leaders were asked to provide information about what the new goal is and the area's current and on-going results through the end of the year.




Friday, March 4, 2011

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.