Friday, February 7, 2014

Meritus Workforce Larger but Less Experienced from 2011 to 2012 - Is Patient Care at Risk?

The Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission makes available wage and salary survey results for all hospitals within Maryland. Since the results include a per-hospital breakout, estimated employee wage/salaries and working hours can be determined by this information.

A few interesting statistics emerge when comparing data between 2011 and 2012.

Between 2011 and 2012, Meritus made many changes to its workforce.

Notable changes which may impact employee morale (and indirectly the quality of patient care)
  • Increased Staff by 172 employees, or 8.59%
  • Increased Full Time Employees by 102.14 full time employees, or 6.06%
  • Increased overall wages by only $0.26/hr, or 1.05% of total wages paid
  • Decreased Average Pay per Employee by $560.15/year or 1.30%
  • Decreased Average Hours Worked per Employee by 40.73 or 2.33%
Notable changes which may directly impact quality of patient care
  • Increased number of general duty nurses by 81 employees or 14.75%
  • Increased total number of hours worked per year by general duty nurses by 94,146 hours or 9.92%
  • Decreased number of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) by 3 employees or 11.54%
  • Decreased total number of hours worked per year by LPNs by 5,902 hours, or 13.17%
  • Decreased number of dietary aides by 3 employees or 5%
  • Decreased total number of hours worked per year by dietary aides by 5,070 hours, or 5.39%
  • The number of dietitians remained the same.
  • Increased number of hours worked per year by dietitians by only 78, or 0.92%
Notable changes which may directly impact safety and security
  • Decreased number of security officers by 8 employees, or 19.05%
  • Decreased total number of hours worked per year by security officers by 12,142 hours, or 17.09%
A shift in Meritus' staffing can be observed; from 2011 to 2012, Meritus may have expanded its workforce, but the expanded workforce is less experienced. The decrease in hours worked per employee means Meritus most likely hired more part-time employees, in some cases to replace full time employees. Additionally, Meritus has reduced the number of experienced LPNs, dietary aides, and security officers on staff. All of these changes have the potential to negatively impact patient care, as well as the safety and security of the hospital.

With Meritus laying off 60 full time employees, cutting 60 unfilled positions, and reducing the hours of 43 additional employees, will patient care be further potentially impacted?

Documents of Interest:
Spreadsheet - Full information and statistics on public information about Meritus' wages from 2011 and 2012 (Used to generate the statistics in this article)
Spreadsheet - Highest paid Employee information from Meritus' 2011 IRS Form 990
Multiple Documents - Maryland HSCRC Database