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Some UIHC staffers may take pay reductions

BY JENNIFER DELGADO | APRIL 08, 2009 7:30 AM

Two new voluntary programs will save money for UI Hospitals and Clinics, officials announced Tuesday.

The first option will allow UIHC employees and UI Carver College of Medicine faculty and staff to participate in a “voluntary temporary reduction in pay.” More than 9,000 individuals are eligible for this. The other asks roughly 8,500 UIHC employees to give back one or more days of their vacation time.

But it is still unknown how much money the hospital will save and how many people will commit to the measures. As of Tuesday evening, only one person committed to the cutbacks, UIHC spokesman Tom Moore said, but the hospital’s human resources office received a “handful of inquiries” about both programs.

Some employees said they didn’t know if they would participate.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea if you can afford to do it,” said Mary Panther, a UIHC clinical nursing specialist. “I don’t think many people can.”

Panther said she would not partake in either option because of an expensive renovation to her home this summer.

Officials said they understand if employees, faculty, and staff are hesitant to participate.

“Some people will need some time to think,” Moore said.

The two ideas came from UI faculty and staff and UIHC employees who wanted to give back, given what their leaders recently committed to, he said.

In March, UI Health Care leaders announced they would take voluntary salary reductions for the rest of fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010. This measure will save the university hospital $1.6 million.

These same leaders also committed forgoing salary increases and any “incentive compensation” for reaching overall organizational and individual goals.

“Response to the senior leadership initiative has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Jean Robillard, the UI vice president for Medical Affairs, in a statement. “Many employees wrote to ask what they could do to help, and many suggested a voluntary program similar to what senior management is doing.”

UIHC officials have also recently discontinued the complimentary parking program for outpatients because of the economy’s effect on the health-care industry.

Officials said they will continue to look into more cost-efficient programs.

“This is another step to moderate expenses,” Moore said.


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