YRMC staffing changes include layoffs
As Yuma Regional Medical Center prepares to “go-live” on May 1 with YRMCCare, the new electronic health record system, the hospital has been experiencing staffing changes, including some layoffs, as the result of improved procedures and technology.
The records overhaul has so far affected 33 core employees and 45 adult acute care positions.
“We have invested a lot of money and it will result in a lot of good for the patient and the community, but it changes how we take care of patients,” said Pat Walz, YRMC president and chief executive officer.
Right now the hospital uses different computer programs that don't “talk” to each other. For example, the emergency room uses a type that requires clerks to input data, print out every page and then place in a binder. If the patient is admitted, the binder is taken to the patient floor and staff works out of the binder. Once a patient is discharged, all papers are scanned and stored.
Consequently, eliminating paper will eliminate some job duties, and the new system will require different skills.
“The EHR (electronic health record) changes their jobs,” Sharon Gardner, vice president of human resources, said.
The new system primarily affects employees involved in the administration and transcription of the medical record, business associates, telemetry technicians, unit clerks and administrators of decommissioned computer systems.
Additionally, interim employees hired into all clerical and service positions since October 2011 knew that they might be displaced with EHR implementation. Core employees were given the opportunity to apply for those positions currently filled with interim staff.
Of the 33 affected core employees, seven were filled by interim employees, two unfilled positions were eliminated and 24 individuals were laid off or are looking for transition.
Of the 24 that were displaced, 15 applied to positions currently filled by interim staff. Of those applicants, eight were offered a job, one employed was offered a position but declined and one employee applied and then withdrew the application. Five employees were not offered a position either because they didn't have required skills or were interviewed and not selected.
In addition, nine individuals never applied and are either retiring, staying at home, going back to school or waiting for different positions to open.
In the adult acute care job restructure, combined with business associates and telemetry technicians, 45 core employees were impacted. All but three employees will be placed in other positions. YRMC anticipates three business associates will graduate and become registered nurses this summer, which will open up positions for the three employees not yet placed.
YRMC noted that it considers its 2,000-plus employees the hospital's “most valuable asset.” With that in mind, YRMC has been assisting affected employees over the past several months. Efforts have included education reimbursement opportunities and assistance with resume and interviewing skills.
The EHR plan included early identification of the potential impact on employees and the opportunities to proactively plan. The hospital has focused on core and long-term employees, offering them a year of continued tuition reimbursement if they are laid off.
Affected employees were also given the opportunity to work with the Information Technology area, where they received free training. Fifty employees accepted the offer.
“Now they can go anywhere and it looks good on their resume. (Information Technology) is in high demand,” Walz noted.
“We had to train because you can't find those skills,” he added.
The transition is expected to continue until the end of December.
“But frankly, it will never end,” Walz said, noting how technology will always evolve.
“The world keeps changing. We have been talking with employees about how (needed) skills will keep changing and they need to keep growing and adding skills,” Gardner said.
So far she feels “really good” about the process. “It's been really smooth when you think of the number of employees touched.”
Mara Knaub can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.