If AT&T can do it, I guess we can too.
We refer to layoffs and the comic strip that opened last week's cover story on retooling without layoffs (Feb. 26, p. 76).
When bottom-line concerns dictate cost cutting, the tendency in the labor-intensive hospital industry is to terminate workers.
Such a strategy is convenient and easy to measure economically, but it can backfire and wreak havoc on the organization. After all, morale among hospital workers is at its lowest ebb, with the lack of job security causing much of the problem.
That's why some hospitals are looking beyond layoffs to prepare themselves for managed care and cutbacks in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. Any successful approach requires strong management leadership and the input of physicians and employees. If all three sides cooperate, there is a fighting chance to lower costs and still build stronger loyalty within the organization. Even the haughty Mayo Foundation is reviewing its core medical processes. By streamlining a surgical bypass procedure, the Rochester, Minn.-based clinic was able to slice the average length of stay nearly in half.
Reporter Jay Greene discovered that corporate reorganization, redeployment of resources and retraining of personnel doesn't have to be a heartbreaking exercise. Compassionate re-engineering programs such as the ones instituted by Franciscan Health System of Cincinnati and Intermountain Health Care of Salt Lake City show that retooling need not disrupt job security. Let's hope they become the rule, rather than the exception.