For the week of April 21, 1999  thru April 27, 1999  

Budget glitch delays WRMC staff raises

Express Staff Writer

Staff of the Wood River Medical Center will not see an anticipated merit raises this month because of an unexpected and "mysterious" budget shortfall. According to hospital officials.

In an April 7 memo addressed to medical center employees, managers and directors, chief executive officer Jon Moses announced the delay in merit increases.

"Despite a busy winter, we find ourselves puzzled by a budget deficit of approximately $85,000—28 percent below expectations," the letter reads.

As the medical center moves toward a consolidation with St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center of Boise, the deficit is one the WRMC cannot afford, Moses explained in the letter.

The anticipated raises are now being planned for the May 14 paycheck instead of the originally planned April 16 paycheck.

The one-month delay will offset the budget shortfall by $20,000.

Management and staff are critically analyzing the hospital’s financial status, according to a press release from the WRMC.

Moses held several meetings with staff after making the announcement.

"They are as concerned as I am about financial situation," Moses said in an interview. "Staff offered ideas for cost reduction and revenue enhancement. They had a lot of insights and we developed hypothesis from those."

The budget variance could be as simple as a "decimal point in the wrong place," Moses said.

Another potential cause, according to Moses, could be a computer mapping problem as a result of the WRMC’s conversion from its system to St. Luke’s system.

"The truth is, given the volumes, revenues should be higher than what they are," Moses said. "We have a problem somewhere. We just have to figure out what it is and tackle it."

Moses also said that while volumes at the WRMC are not far from expectations, "they are not up to our expectations."


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