After the Fallout
A long, worrisome spring and fall has left our healthcare system 51 employees smaller. Rumors ran amuck throughout every facility and department, causing stress and anxiety. Our system was at risk of being placed on the auction block to the highest bidder, which would have been a private institution. However, we were able to avoid our worst fears. As a previous employee of a for-profit institution, I am well aware of the difference between "them" and "us." This is why I have dedicated the past 20 years to a not-for-profit institution. It is common knowledge to the state of Florida healthcare employees that our Governor, a previously higher-ranking employee for a national for-profit system, is not a fan of community-based healthcare systems. This was worth the fight and the wait.
The not-for-profit healthcare systems in South Florida have been suffering recently with our ever-changing Medicare/Medicaid rules and regulations. One major healthcare system in a neighboring county has been known to lay off 1200, and then another 500 employees. In addition, having only 15 days of cash on hand is quite more worrisome for the remaining employees and community they serve. This is in comparison to having more than 300 days of cash on hand and losing only 51 employees. It has not been easy, but can be done with the right team of professionals.
Returning to the basics of healthcare is a common thread in many of our modifications. Cost savings can be achieved by analyzing and modifying practice patterns. What has worked for our facility are simple changes that haven't impacted the safe, quality care we are known for in our community. For example, we no longer hand out resistive bands for home exercises; we have educated our patients where they can be purchased. Or in some cases, simply returning to the basics of physical therapy by recommending household items for resistance has proven to be enough. Of course, this has not been easy for all therapists, since we've always provided equipment to our patients. However, by pulling together as a fine-tuned team, we are slowly coming to grips that we are still above water because of the little changes we implement now.
After the fallout, the cost-savings initiative continues. Our sense of community is stronger than ever. With a strong team and supportive staff, recognized for all their ideas and work to maintain our strength, community-based healthcare will continue for years to come.