published Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Erlanger panel OKs pay raises


by Emily Bregel

Pay raises totaling $4 million are in the works for Erlanger Health System's 4,200 employees, following the Erlanger budget committee's approval of a resolution authorizing the updates.

The 2 percent across-the-board raise -- which still needs approval from hospital trustees who meet Thursday -- follows $3.5 million in raises to 1,100 bedside nurses implemented in July, totaling $7.5 million in pay raises this fiscal year, said Gregg Gentry, senior vice president of human resources, after the hospital's budget and finance committee meeting on Monday.

"We have great employees. We feel very pleased we're able to make a commitment" to raises, Gentry said.

The across-the-board raise excludes 17 executive-level managers, from the vice president level up, Gentry said. The raise is effective retroactively to July 11 of this year, according to the resolution.

ERLANGER FINANCIALS

* Income for October 2010 -- $411,390

* Budgeted income for October 2010 -- $1.35 million

* Year-to-date FY 2011 income -- $450,124

* Budgeted year-to-date FY 2011 income -- $3.27 million

Source: Erlanger financial records

Gentry said the raises fulfill a promise hospital officials made earlier this year to increase pay for staff earning less than market norms for their position, before awarding bonuses to hospital management.

Management officials will receive bonuses in this fiscal year, based on the hospital's performance in the fiscal year that ended in June, but hospital leaders are still finalizing how much will be paid out, Gentry said.

Year-to-date, Erlanger is not meeting "aggressive" financial goals, but the hospital is bringing in more money compared to last year, officials said.

So far this fiscal year, Erlanger has earned a profit of $450,000, compared to sustaining a $1.9 million loss at this time last year, said Britt Tabor, chief financial officer.

The improvement is mainly due to an increase in patient volumes, but the growth in admissions was not enough for Erlanger to meet its goal of $3.3 million in net operating income, year-to-date, officials said.

"We had some very aggressive budget targets," said Jim Brexler, president and CEO, to committee members. But he pointed out that the hospital experienced double-digit growth in some service areas, including orthopedic inpatient surgeries.

Donnie Hutcherson, chairman of the hospital's budget committee, said hospital leaders are anticipating a strong financial performance this year that will justify the pay raises and bonuses.

"We're outperforming last year. We have confidence we'll finish out the year in financially strong shape. Otherwise, we wouldn't have done it," he said.

about Emily Bregel...

Health care reporter Emily Bregel has worked at the Chattanooga Times Free Press since July 2006. She previously covered banking and wrote for the Life section. Emily, a native of Baltimore, Md., earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Columbia University. She received a first-place award for feature writing from the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists’ Golden Press Card Contest for a 2009 article about a boy with a congenital heart defect. She ...

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JusticeSeeker said...

Erlanger needs to take a close look at the shoddy mental evaluations being given in their ER. In my opinion and according to multiple police reports the hospital is endangering public safety and setting the stage for a multi- million dollar lawsuit. Their ER makes a mockery out of mental crisis. Medicaid rules say mental as well as physical are both "medical emergencies". Erlanger can't pick and choose what services to give proper attention to. Someone is going to get killed because of their actions. Mental crisis strikes 1 in 4 families each year. It could be you. Last week they were whining about losing money serving poor people and now this week they are giving everyone a raise. Seems they may be having mood swings themselves. SHAME on Erlanger.

November 16, 2010 at 9:35 a.m.
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