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Transition to Rehab Management

Rapid Changes

Published April 12, 2012 4:09 PM by Karen Schiff

Whew!! What a busy week... seems I've been saying that more and more these days. As this month rolls on, I am preparing to help my health care system close one outpatient department where I work as the interim director. Thankfully, an inpatient manager has been hired and is taking over by consolidating therapists, managing schedules, working on payroll, attending meetings and supporting staff.

My health care system is working hard to stay community-focused and keep all programs available so that we aren't placed up for auction. I'm not a political person, but I understand what it means to have a governor in place who does not feel that public health care is important, for those who cannot afford it. In an effort to stay a public health care system, the leaders are working diligently to conserve as much as possible; if you ask me, they always have.

I have seen the effect the health care system has had on the public, during health fairs, public events and working with patients with all types of insurance, including those we have treated without insurance. Every employee is being asked to offer suggestions that will help the community and the system, all while still providing excellent customer service and saving money that will keep us within a budget that has been trimmed enormously. Staff have offered to go home early when their schedules lighten up, and relief staff have been asked to leave early or come in late.

Explaining to a department that they will be closing after years of providing much charity-based rehabilitation services has been the most difficult. Again, in an effort to attempt to remain a public health care system, we are losing the capability of serving them by providing fewer options for them to receive rehabilitation services. At least we are able to serve them, for now. Concern lies in the next step - if we are sold at public auction and made a private health care system, one that does not assist the indigent patients. Our community will suffer greatly.

As I spend less and less time at our sister hospital, I am grateful for the slightly increased available time to finish up my spring semester, as well as play more tennis, walk the dogs and prom-dress shop for my oldest daughter. Almost halfway done with my transitional doctoral program, and for the first time in more than 20 years, I will have homework during the summer! A couple of short vacations are on the agenda for the summer as well, and a celebration is to be had as my oldest graduates high school.

While good things happen, the unknown still lurks in the background for this beautiful community around me. Once a firm non-political person, I am now quick to listen to the news about federal funding for health care. It has hit too close to home. More changes are on the way, hopefully with as little suffering as possible to the community and health care system.

2 comments

Wow, Dean, I wasn't aware the same was happening overseas.  Things are happening at an astounding rate here :(

Thank you for your post!

Karen April 18, 2012 7:14 PM

Karen, I wish this type of thing was unique to South Florida, unfortunately it is happening everywhere, including here in the UK. When I graduated PT school (a long time ago), I had no political knowledge at all. Now, like yourself, I pay daily attention to what is going on in both my home country and my country of residence. Both look scary right now. Kudos to you for helping your staff and your community through this transition!

Dean Metz April 14, 2012 5:35 AM

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