07/13/04 — Health insurance costs affect hospital staff

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Health insurance costs affect hospital staff

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 13, 2004 1:56 PM

Even health-care workers struggle with the rising cost of health insurance premiums, according to a survey of employees at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

Two-thirds of the employees and managers who participated in a recent job-satisfaction survey listed the escalating out-of-pocket expenses on health insurance as one of their top two concerns. The other was a desire for better communication among the staff.

Rick Rogers, vice president of personnel, said the survey proves that despite being in the health-care profession, its workers are not immune to the rising cost of medical care.

"Premium costs went up significantly for employees this past year," he said. "We're looking at opportunities to try to reduce costs."

He said the hospital provides good benefits packages for its employees, but will need to take it a step further.

"We'll be doing another survey soon and having focus groups to pin down how the staff feels about certain benefits," he said. He said the hospital's goal is for its benefits package to meet the needs of the employees and their families.

William Paugh, hospital president, told the board of directors this morning that his staff is working to address the concerns.

"Small-group meetings will be held with employees to discuss the issues on a departmental basis," he said.

Paugh said one plan to reduce costs would come through the current construction project at the hospital. He said a pharmacy for hospital staff would not only help expand services, but could save employees an estimated $250,000 a year.

Rogers said he viewed the employee feedback as positive because it provides hospital management with an opportunity to improve the work environment.

Similar surveys are done every few years to gauge employee satisfaction, he said. About 850 of the 1,300 staff members responded to the latest survey, he said, answering 110 questions anonymously via computer. The survey covered such areas as leadership, pride and satisfaction in the organization, customer service, morale, diversity and salaries.

"There was a lot of strong pride in the organization and job satisfaction," he said. "Most felt very strongly about the leadership here."

He said the survey is another way for the hospital to stay in touch with its employees.

"It's a nice opportunity to realign to meet everyone's needs," he said.