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Release: May 20, 2002

UI Hospitals and Clinics to reduce staffing, preserve patient care quality

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics officials Monday afternoon announced plans to reduce operating expenses in the institution's fiscal year 2003 budget by reducing general expenses such as travel, supplies and purchased services, but also through staffing reductions. The staffing reductions are planned primarily in non-direct patient care areas and will not affect bedside patient care.

Interim director and CEO Ann M. Rice said, "Our goal was to do everything possible to avoid eliminating positions, but faced with expense increases that exceed revenue increases, we could no longer meet that goal. We understand and regret that this will affect peoples' lives, but we will do everything possible to assist our staff during this time of transition."

Twenty-eight staff members are being contacted by their managers and Staff Relations and Development liaisons regarding elimination of their assignments, and three other staff members will be notified that their work hours will be reduced. No employees have received layoff notices. Human resources staff members from the University and UI Hospitals and Clinics will be working with individuals to find other positions within UI Hospitals and Clinics or the University, using vacancies when possible.

Overall, UI Hospitals and Clinics is permanently reducing its employment base by 117.12 full-time equivalent positions, by eliminating assignments, reducing work hours, attrition, eliminating or holding open unfilled positions, and transferring work hours to grant funds.

"We targeted these staffing changes in non-direct patient care areas, such as administrative support departments, in order to maintain nurse-to-patient ratios and continue to provide the highest quality beside care," Rice said. "We hope that these reductions will be the last for fiscal year 2003, but we cannot be assured of that because of the many uncertainties that surround us, including the current state budget situation," she added.

UI Hospitals and Clinics are being affected by reductions in reimbursements from major payers as well as cuts in the state's appropriation for the indigent patient care program. As of March 31, 2002, financial data shows that expenses at UI Hospitals and Clinics had increased 8 percent from the same time last year, while revenues were up only 5.6 percent. The same scenario of expenses exceeding revenues, despite an increase in patient volume, would continue in fiscal year 2003 if the planned expense reductions were not carried out.

Despite planned staffing reductions in certain targeted areas, Diana Leventry, director of staff relations and development, said employment opportunities remain strong at UI Hospitals and Clinics for nurses, nursing assistants, lab and radiology personnel, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and respiratory care staff. "We continue to actively recruit health care professionals in these areas and remain committed to providing competitive pay and benefits and a rewarding work environment," she said.

UI Hospitals and Clinics employ approximately 7,200 people. The total budget for the institution last fiscal year was $473.8 million. Of that total, $284.7 million was paid in salaries, wages and fringe benefits.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at