UMMC announces Grenada cuts, changes

GRENADA, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Medical Center Grenada is on track to save about $1 million by June 30, part of a financial action plan to identify ways to reduce expenses and increase revenue in light of a UMMC system-wide funding shortfall.

Action on the Grenada campus includes increasing revenue through reducing or eliminating services that aren’t financially viable and for which sufficient alternatives exist in the area. The plan also calls for reductions in staff, closure of the UMMC Grenada Wellness Center, and closure of the hospital’s geriatric psychiatric unit. The staff reductions include layoffs of 23 employees and not filling seven staff vacancies.

“I sincerely regret that these valued staff members will face this transition,” said Don Hutson, chief executive officer for UMMC Grenada and UMMC Holmes County. Those losing their jobs will have the opportunity to apply for existing vacancies throughout the UMMC system, he said.

The action comes as Mississippi’s only academic medical center is coping with financial difficulties due to unanticipated cuts in patient care reimbursement and other budget reductions.

“UMMC Grenada is committed to providing high quality health care in an environment which promotes patient safety and enhances the patient experience,” Hutson said.

“We are equally committed to maintaining a fully engaged staff focused on the needs of the patients and their families. As we work diligently to achieve these commitments, we are ever mindful of our critical role of being good stewards of our resources so that we can continue to serve this community long into the future.”

Grenada’s plan also includes trimming $3 million from its budget in fiscal year 2018.

“Unfortunately, due to the size of the decreases in revenue, we have needed to take actions to reduce expenses on a proportional basis,” Hutson said. Those actions also include increasing revenue through the offering of new clinical services, the reduction of some external service contracts, and reorganizing departments or services to achieve optimal efficiency.

“Our relationship with the state’s only academic medical center allows us take these specific actions, all the while ensuring that the complete spectrum of care is available for our patients,” Hutson said.

The Wellness Center loses about $42,000 annually; the geriatric psychiatric program, about $66,000 annually, he said. “UMMC very much appreciates the healthy lifestyle and commitment to exercise that our Wellness Center members exhibit,” Hutson said. “We trust that they will continue that commitment in the other local venues that support health and wellness.

“Throughout the implementation of this plan, the dedicated staff at UMMC Grenada remain steadfast in their commitment to deliver quality care in an environment which promotes patient safety and enhances the patient experience,” Hutson said.

UMMC Grenada will continue to recruit physicians in certain specialties that are considered core services for a community hospital. At a minimum, those services include the emergency department, inpatient capabilities, critical care, surgery, ancillary services such as radiology and laboratory, and various specialty and subspecialty clinics.

It’s unknown if cutbacks are permanent, Hutson said. “We fully expect financial challenges to be the new state of normal for hospitals and health systems,” he said. “However, we also believe that focusing on our key pillars of quality, patient safety, patient experience, employee engagement and financial stewardship will position UMMC Grenada for success moving forward.”