by James C. Sherlock
We read far too often about funding “crises” in government institutions and programs.
The general public, me included, would be far more attentive and sometimes supportive if government would follow the lead of private companies and continually right-size itself and emphasize customer-facing services.
The health care industry — or rather the private healthcare industry — consistently shows the way.
Even not-for-profits are not for losses.
Count, if you can, the number of times in your life that a government organization has announced job cutbacks in administration in order to optimize expenditures and provide better service.
Yeah, me neither.
Students at one of my favorite state schools (it is northwest of Richmond and west of Orange County) are protesting that their faculty is underpaid.
The solution to that problem, if indeed the Board of Visitors considers it a problem, writes itself.
Some of today’s headline articles from that industry from Becker’s Hospital Review:
Valley Health, a six-hospital health system based in Winchester, Va., eliminated 31 administrative positions. The job cuts are part of the consolidation of the organization’s leadership team and administrative roles.
Roseville, Calif.-based Adventist Health plans to go from seven networks of care to five systemwide to reduce costs and strengthen operations. The reorganization will result in job cuts, including reducing administration by more than $100 million.
Southern Illinois Healthcare, a four-hospital system based in Carbondale, announced it would eliminate or restructure 76 jobs in management and leadership. The 76 positions fall under senior leadership, management and corporate services. Included in that figure are 33 vacant positions, which will not be filled. No positions in patient care are affected.
Citing a need to further reduce overhead expenses and support additional investments in patient care and wages, Traverse City, Mich.-based Munson Health is eliminating 31 positions and leaving another 20 jobs unfilled. All affected positions are in corporate services or management. The layoffs represent less than 1 percent of the health system’s workforce of nearly 8,000.
West Reading, Pa.-based Tower Health on Nov. 16 laid off 52 corporate employees as the health system shrinks from six hospitals to four. The layoffs, which are expected to save $15 million a year, account for 13 percent of Tower Health’s corporate management staff.
Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health announced layoffs affecting an undisclosed number of staff in October, a decision its CEO said was made “to streamline leadership structure and simplify operations” in certain areas. The layoffs primarily affect nonclinical areas.
Perhaps there is something in there useful for governments to learn. Or not.
Perhaps someone can tell us the last time a state hospital in Virginia cut administrative staff to provide better service to patients. I may have missed it.
The slashing of administrative positions both to raise pay for key faculty and reduce costs to students is way overdue at Virginia’s bloated public colleges and universities.
Then there are the programs for which demand has slackened. Another target-rich environment. Did I mention that Marymount University in Arlington just announced the elimination of a slew of majors, spurring “fierce faculty protest”?
Many Virginians would appreciate better efficiency in our state schools. Fierce protests or not.
Among those are taxpayers, students, students’ parents and the poor, some of whom without support can borrow $80,000 or more to fund a bachelor’s degree at one of those institutions.