Wake Forest’s Epic woes continue with slashed worker raises

By Jennifer Bresnick on

Employees at financially troubled Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center can say goodbye to the hopes of a 1.5% merit-based raise, the Winston-Salem Journal reports.  After posting huge losses in the third quarter of their fiscal year this summer, totaling $62.8 million in operational shortfall, mainly attributed to their adoption of an Epic EHR system, the hospital is taking additional measures to keep as much money in its coffers as possible as it attempts to recover.

“As the financial challenges continue in health care, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center has had to respond to revenue decreases caused by state budget reductions, lower Medicare payments and retention of supplemental funding through the provider assessment,” the hospital said in a statement.  “Despite achieving significant efficiencies in the last two years, the medical center feels the institution’s financial stability is best served by not implementing a 1.5 percent merit increase for employees.”

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The cuts may be disappointing to employees hoping for a cost-of-living increase, but after the medical center announced plans to cut as many as 950 jobs earlier this year, the news might not seem as bad as getting a pink slip.  Other attempts to trim dollars from staffing budgets include voluntary employee furloughs, a general hiring freeze, and decreased hours for non-clinical employees.  The hospital also reduced its retirement contributions and stripped bonuses from executive staff members.

Wake Forest did not say how much money they plan to save by eliminating the bonus program, but Forsyth County’s largest employer did mention that stock investment gains totaling close to $54 million helped significantly offset their fiscal year shortfall, cutting the $55 million operational loss to $571,000.

“Management continues to aggressively pursue both short- and long-term strategies to grow revenues, control expenses and leverage our investment in Epic,” the hospital said.  “While some of these measures are intended to be short term in nature to address current financial challenges, some of these measures will remain in place through at least early fiscal 2013-14.”

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