Deac Docs Drop Dimes

April 13th, 2009 | Sources: Boston Globe, WSJ Health Blog


The chairmen of 13 clinical departments at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center agreed last week to donate $350,000 to help reduce the need for staff layoffs.
BIDeaconess“This was a really easy decision,” Mary Ann Stevenson told the Boston Globe.

The Radiation Oncology chair added, “most of us have been longtime campaigners for the hospital. Most of us feel really strongly about where we work.”

And they’ve appealed to their physician colleagues and reports who are affiliated with the hospital to follow suit.

“We invite you to consider making as generous a contribution as possible,” the chiefs penned in a letter to 1,100 staff physicians that was obtained by the Globe. Donated funds “will support job preservation among the hospital staff (so) they can continue to provide great service to our patients.”

Beth Israel Deaconess is affiliated with Harvard Medical School. It announced last month that it faced a $20 million operating loss for the fiscal year, and planned to enact cost-reducing moves including RIFs as a consequence.

Let'sgetabailout!After that announcement, hospital CEO cum blogger extraordinaire Paul Levy began working with employees on money saving, job preserving ideas.

That let BIDMC reduce the number of layoffs from 600 to 150.

The ideas included a temporary halt in funding employees’ 401(k) and 403(b) retirement plans, suspending a planned 3% salary increase for certain employees, eliminating the annual employee barbecue and ending hospital reimbursement for staff cell phones.

In addition, Levy has cut his own pay by 10%, and that of his executive staff by 5%.

Hospitals across the country have seen patient volumes drop as the Great Economic Crisis prompts people to defer elective procedures. Inpatient volume at BIDMC is off 1% this year.


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