Cumberland Times-News

October 11, 2012

WMHS: No salary increases

Two high-level spots will be cut; positions totaled $540K in 2010

From Staff Reports
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Responding to an inquiry by the Times-News, the Western Maryland Health System said there will be no employee salary increases or market adjustments for fiscal 2013, which began July 1.

Kathy Rogers, spokeswoman for the health system, also said that two high-level administration jobs being vacated through retirements are being eliminated. According to Guidestar, an organization that reports on nonprofit businesses like the WMHS, the two positions had a combined compensation of $540,000 in 2010.

Rogers said the two executive positions being eliminated, chief operating officer and vice president of human resources, will result in responsibilities being assumed by other members of the senior management team.

She said the plans for no salary increases or market adjustments are for all employees, including senior management.

The health system announced last month that in order to help save $5.9 million annually in salaries and benefits, 44 employees were being displaced from their current positions. About half of those were to be offered other opportunities within the system.

About 95 full-time equivalent positions are being eliminated throughout WMHS, including 54 full- and part-time positions that are already vacant.

Dwindling health-care spending by the federal government as well as Maryland’s payment reforms are blamed by the health system for the need for belt-tightening.

Barry Ronan, president and CEO of the health system, said all hospitals are expecting reductions in their rates of 2 to 3 percent each year over the next five years. For WMHS, that will equate to a $30 million to $45 million decrease in payments.

Rogers said the recent staffing reductions at WMHS are not a short-term fix, but rather part of a strategy to deal with long-term financial needs.

Despite the reduction of jobs, WMHS continues to employ approximately 2,200 workers.

“WMHS is committed to ensuring that all employees are compensated equitably. The salaries for all job classifications throughout WMHS are evaluated regularly, and we use data from comparable organizations to ensure our wages are competitive.

“Market adjustments are made whenever necessary to bring salaries in line with organizations similar to WMHS,” Rogers said.