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.