Hill Health Cancels Xmas
by Thomas MacMillan | Oct 23, 2012 3:11 pm
Cash-strapped Cornell Scott Hill Health Center is cutting costs any way it can, including putting the kibosh on menorahs and mistletoe.
That’s one of the takeaways from a recent email to staff from Hill Health CEO Jamesina Henderson.
In a message the staff, Henderson detailed several new cost-cutting measures, including canceling the annual year-end holiday party and ending a subsidy for people doing Weight Watchers.
Those cuts come on the heels of other austerity measures—including company wide-furloughs and pay cuts for senior staff—laid out in a confidential memo recently delivered to Hill Health workers. (Read that memo here.)
Rob Rioux, Hill Health’s director of community relations and corporate development, told the Independent that the financial difficulties amount to “temporary cash flow issues” as a result of a factors including a staffing shortage.
The latest measures are “a few additional action items that we decided would be in the best interest of the health center,” Rioux said. “Nothing too dramatic.”
On the list of action items:
· Overtime for non-medical personnel is restricted until further notice. Any requests for overtime will require the advanced approval of your senior management and the CEO.
· Tuition reimbursement is suspended until further notice. Already approved reimbursements will be honored
· All expenses for training, conferences and seminars must be approved in advance by your senior management
· Food & catering requests have been restricted until further notice
· All purchase requests must be placed through our Procure-it system otherwise they are subject to cancellation
· The health center’s subsidy of the Weight Watcher’s program has been cancelled
· The December 2012 Holiday celebration has been cancelled
Rioux said the savings from these actions will not amount to “a huge number.”
“We’re not talking hundreds of thousands of dollars,” he said.
The strategy isn’t all cutbacks. The memo also includes several action items intended to raise money.
For instance, Hill Health is looking to extend behavioral health services to Ansonia. That’s an “opportunity for immediate revenue,” Rioux said. There is a demonstrated need for behavioral health services in Ansonia, he said.
Also, Hill Health is negotiating to bring dermatology services back to the center, according to the memo.
“There’s a huge demand for dermatology,” Rioux said. Of all the dermatologists in New Haven, none take Medicaid, he said. “It’s a critical need for the community.” If a dermatologist were on staff, he or she would be “booked to the maximum,” Rioux said.
Rioux said that an investigation by attorney Floyd Dugas into personnel complaints against CEO Henderson (pictured) has been completed and delivered to the board of directors. The probe stemmed from lengthy letter about alleged mismanagement, written in August by Chief Financial Officer Stewart Joslin.
Rioux said he has not seen the report and that the board has not taken any action based on it.
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More saddness for staff. The community shares your sadness as well. At a time when morale must be at an all time low, a party maybe would have been helpful. I wonder if the Feds are up to speed on the scope of problems. They control the largest amount of funds.
Anotheropinion, thanks so much. It is a sad and scary time here. There are many of us who rely on OT. You could not be more correct about the morale here. We are a bunch of nervous wrecks walking on eggshells. It’s not pleasant at all.
Glad to finally know what the CEO looks like. I was right. She’s not familiar at all. I thought she’d have been at the Omega 5k run this weekend since The Hill was a sponsor but no.
Reading this article, the community relations director says that the austerity measures are “nothing too dramatic” but my guess is that the loss of overtime, the mandatory furlough mentioned in the last article and the loss of anticipated tuition reimbursement money will be very dramatic for some employees. His comment was a bit insensitive. Is he a local guy?
I join anotheropinion in expressing my sadness for and solidarity with The Hill employees. Keep your head up!
Something seems fishy here. Where is the concern for being able to maintain a high level of service and accessibility to patients? The letter by Joslin and report by Dugas should be made public. With all the lawsuits going on, there has to be some very bad management going on. How could they not see this coming? Another typical not-for-profit with bad management. Once the free money decreases, they have to scramble to cover their over-inflated salaries. Put them in corporate and see if they’d survive. I hope for their sake they aren’t ignorant to the point where there has been any recent raises or bonuses. That would make it clear that it’s just about lining pockets.
I feel so bad for these employees. I’m telling you, you’d never know it. You ladies and gentlemen show up for work and you are your normal, professional selves. I applaud you. But I feel really bad for you. You all deserve better and I agree with tax payer,it must be poor management to blame. These things don’t happen overnight. Shouldn’t two layoffs have been a big enough red flag? What did the Board do after the first layoff? Nothing? If anyone at the top got a raise after they had to have a second layoff, someone might need to ask the Board some tough questions. I’m curious as to what the CFO had to say. Does NHI know?
So revenue is down because so many care providers have left. Unpaid furloughs and cutbacks in wages will drive more staff away further shrinking revenue. The unfortunate part of management’s strategy to contain costs is that it will continue the downward spiral that got the organization where it is today. If senior leaders are not asking themselves what it is they are doing to have so badly destabilized what had been a thriving institution, they should be ashamed.