Provident Hospital is running low on funds used to
hire temporary registered nurses, and may have to cut the number of
patients it treats to make ends meet.
The hospital's chief operating officer, Sidney
Thomas, yesterday told the county's health system board that Provident
has a nurse shortage. Consequently, the hospital has relied more than
budgeted on temporary nurses. Those nurses are often more expensive
than staff nurses, which means expenses are rising.
“We have a situation where we’ve spent the
majority of our registry money,” he said. “We know now we have a
limited amount of money to last the rest of the year.”
Thomas said the hospital is short 25 nurses.
Nurses are less likely to apply for jobs at Provident, he said, because
of media attention on the possibility of the hospital closing due to
county budget cuts.
To ease the workload of nurses and to provide more
personal care, he said the hospital is considering cutting an
undetermined number of its 119 beds.
“This will be a significant problem for the system
because we’d have more transfers to Stroger (Hospital)…and more
(ambulance) bypasses,” Thomas said.
Board member David Carvalho asked that the health system investigate the issues at Provident.
“This doesn’t make sense at all," he said. Carvalho said statistics provided to the board show Provident's staff count is high.
Board members asked for a complete report for
their next meeting, and said it might be possible to shift health
system funds to give Provident a boost.
In other business, health and hospitals chief
William Foley told the board he is close to hiring a performance
director to oversee the various consultants assisting the health system
in various areas. The performance director will head the Office of
“I think it’s important to get that resource in as
soon as possible, because we’ve got the consultants running around the
place from different firms, and we should coordinate,” Foley said.
Also, the health system is planning six initial
town hall meetings throughout the county to give the public a glimpse
into the board’s thought process.
“The purpose is to get input from the community, in all the communities we serve,” Foley said.
Once the board crafts what Foley called “a draft vision strategy,” several more public meetings before the plan is finalized.