Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Clinical Engineering Contracting Out -- Update

As you may remember from last year, UMass Memorial had agreed to the BioMed Techs' proposal to save money while keeping the service in-house, rather than contracting out the service to save money for the hospital. The BioMed Techs worked on the process improvement through the year (while maintaining high level of service), saving over $800,000 by SHARE's calculations. (See prior post.)

However, this year UMass Memorial has decided that they need to take advantage of the savings to the hospital that contracting out provides, after all.

UMass Memorial has expressed interest in helping the Biomed Techs with this transition, beyond what the contract provides for layoffs, because of their work above and beyond the call of duty with the process improvement project. Dr. Eric Dickson has been clear that the hospital appreciates their all their efforts over the last year and the money that their ideas saved the hospital.

With SHARE, the Biomed Techs have a decision to make: Whether to object to the outsourcing, attempting to bring the question to the whole UMass Memorial community. Or, do they want to view the contracting out as inevitable, and focus on what appears to be a good faith effort on the hospital's part to help them with their transitions.

In general, SHARE opposes outsourcing. Outsourced companies typically pay their employees less and provide less good benefits. Employees of a vendor often do not have the same loyalty and commitment to the patients and to the hospital.We believe that this decision to out-source Clinical Engineering will have a negative impact on the quality of service to departments, which will impact patient care.

The hospital has responded that the impact to patients and the hospital will be worse if they don't take this opportunity to cut costs. The SHARE leadership also has an obligation to put these SHARE members in the best possible position going forward. SHARE will back the techs in either direction -- negotiating a settlement, or campaigning against the contracting out.

Currently, we are working on the idea of packages for the Biomed Techs, in discussions with management. We are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to work something out that the Biomed Techs feels is a respectful and dignified end to their careers as UMass Memorial employees.

SHARE Leaders Help Out with United Way Campaign


The SHARE Executive Board and Organizers pitched in to create this gorgeous chocolate basket. The basket is a prize to be raffled off among employees who donate to the United Way.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Can Idea Boards and Huddles Make Work Better for SHARE Members?

SHARE is interested in hearing about your experience with idea boards and huddles:

  • Does your department use an idea board and huddle regularly?
  • If so, do the idea board and huddles help make your day-to-day work experience better?
  • Do they help you and your co-workers to improve your work processes?

Come to a SHARE lunch-time information meeting about idea boards and huddles. We'll discuss what makes them work well in some departments, and not so well in others. We'll also talk about what kinds of help are available to SHARE members who want to improve their department's idea board and huddles.

The dates and times of the meetings are listed below. Come during your lunch break, and feel free to bring your lunch with you.

Monday, Oct 20         11:30am - 1:30pm          University, room S2-351
Thursday, Oct 23       11:30am - 1:30pm           WBC, Thom McCann rm 1st floor 
Friday, Oct 24             12pm - 2:00pm                CBO, 4th floor conference room 
Thursday, Oct 30        11:30am - 1:30pm          Memorial 1 conf rm, near the caf.
Monday, Nov 3           11:30am - 1pm               Hahnemann 2nd floor conf room 
Thursday, Nov 6          11:30am - 1pm               Barre Health Center         
Thursday, Nov 13        11:45am - 1:30pm         Tri River Community room 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Clinical Engineering - Contracting Out

UMass Memorial leadership has decided to contract out the Clinical Engineering Department. There are thirteen Biomedical Technicians in the department, ten of whom are SHARE members. CEO Dr. Eric Dickson and President Patrick Muldoon met with the Techs and SHARE representatives Tuesday to announce the decision.

As you may remember, UMass Memorial had decided over a year ago to contract out the Biomed Techs' work in order to cut costs. Working together, we had persuaded the Hospital to give the department a chance to save money without contracting out. The Techs worked hard, and successfully, to find savings. Unfortunately, UMass Memorial leadership believes that it is in the best interest of the Medical Center to proceed with the contracting out..

The Biomed Techs and SHARE Organizers are continuing to talk as we evaluate our options in the wake of this decision.

Friday, September 12, 2014

SHARE Information Meetings -- Health Insurance: What's coming in the future?

Join us for a conversation about possible health insurance changes (for 2016), and what we think of them. Come for your lunch break -- feel free to bring your lunch. Hope to see you there!

Monday, Sept 15 -- 11:30-1:30 pm -- University S2-351
Thursday, September 18 -- 11:30-1:30 pm -- Memorial 1 conference room
Monday, September 22 -- 11:30-1:30 pm -- WBC Assumption room, 1st floor
Wednesday, September 24 -- 12:00-2:00 pm -- CBO 4th floor conference rm
Tuesday, September 30 -- 12:00-1:30 pm -- Biotech 3 room #227

We're setting up information meetings at more locations (PTC, 328 Shrewsbury St, Barre, Hahnemann). We'll be in touch with the details.

Coming soon: Keep your eyes out for the SHARE survey about health insurance!

SHARE Raises in October

Raises for SHARE members are scheduled to go into effect on October 5th. (That's a Sunday -- really they go into effect at 11pm on Saturday night, October 4th.) Payroll says that the raises will be in paychecks on October 16th.

For more information about the raise, look here.

Saving for retirement almost painlessly: This is a great time to start a 401K or to increase the amount you have deducted for your 401K. If you start the deduction at the same time as your raise comes, you won't miss the money! (At least not as much.) For more info, register on the Fidelity website, or call Fidelity at 800-343-0860. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Changing the Culture to Listen to Your Good Ideas

Something really important is happening at UMass Memorial. Eric Dickson, the CEO, is leading a campaign to change the culture so that front-line employees’ ideas are welcomed in every department. This would be a big change in many areas, and a positive one for SHARE members, our patients and, we believe, the success of our hospitals.

As SHARE members have always said, we know our work, we know our patients, and we have good ideas about how to fix problems. We just need to be free to say them, and to know that we will be listened to.

That means changing how managers manage at UMass Memorial. In the past, I think that many managers learned a “command and control” model of supervising. When the manager’s only job is to tell employees what to do, employees learn to keep their ideas to themselves.

In case you haven't read the Worcester Telegram and Gazette article about this, here's what I said:
"It's a process of changing the culture, from having managers tell the staff what to do, to one where the staff feel appreciated and listened to. The employees have good ideas, and they want to be respected partners in figuring out how to solve some of these problems." 
 Dr. Dickson said in the interview:
"Some managers have this feeling that good ideas can only come from the managers," he said. "That is the hardest thing, getting managers to believe that people on the front lines have better ideas than they do." 
To involve front-line staff in improving the patients’ experience, work flow, and the staff's own day-to-day work experience, Dr. Dickson is promoting idea boards with huddles in every department.

SHARE believes that idea boards and huddles are a great first step toward changing the culture. What I like best about idea boards -- when they’re done well -- is that everybody is equal at an idea board huddle. When the staff operates as a team, it changes how it feels to come to work. 

If you'd like to know more about idea boards and huddles, or you'd like some help with how to make them work well in your department, email Will at SHARE