Jeff Stone, center front, answered questions from RCRMC employees during an open forum session at the hospital.
On Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014, nearly 200 public service workers from the Riverside County Regional Medical Center packed three informational sessions to hear directly from Jeff Stone, Chairman of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. Thursday’s open forum Q&A sessions at the hospital were hosted by SEIU 721, but all hospital employees, regardless of union affiliation, were invited to attend this historic event due to the importance of the information being discussed.
“Keeping this hospital open is not only very important to our members, but to this community too. SEIU 721 is committed to partnering with hospital management and County leadership to ensure RCRMC’s long-term success.”– Bob Schoonover, SEIU 721 President
During each session, Supervisor Stone provided a brief overview of the hospital’s financial status, including the role of the new CEO and Huron Consulting in improving that outlook. All employees had an opportunity to submit their questions directly to the Supervisor and he candidly responded to each one. He answered difficult questions surrounding how the hospital ended up in its current financial situation, the Board’s ability to continue to close the gap on pay parity issues for healthcare workers, and future plans for expanding healthcare services in Riverside County.
The most important question on everyone’s mind though was – Are our jobs safe? Supervisor Stone’s answer was loud and clear to those in attendance.
“Your jobs are not in jeopardy. You are valued professionals in this hospital and we have no plans to do away with your jobs. The hospital is a part of our community. You provide quality care, putting patients above anything else, and the Board honors and appreciates you. As we continue to expand services with the ACA, we will need more staff, not less. Your jobs are safe. Think of all of us as partners in this – SEIU, the Board of Supervisors, and hospital administration. Together we will provide the best quality care to take care of you. Our relationship with SEIU has never been stronger in my ten years on the Board and we are partnering together to make RCRMC a success.”– Jeff Stone, Chairman of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors
Supervisor Stone also spent a part of each session going over some of the improvements that have already been achieved, the continuing challenges facing the financially struggling hospital, and future plans for growth.
• Hiring CEO Lowell Johnson, who has a long history of working collaboratively with SEIU to successfully cure ailing hospitals
• Partnering with three medical teaching universities – UC Riverside, Loma Linda University, and Western University
• Implementation of Huron’s recommended cost-saving measures, such as enrolling in federal drug discount programs
• Improving efficiencies through the use of electronic medical records
• Modernizing billing practices to prevent unnecessary revenue loss
• Reducing labor costs through regular attrition – NOT LAYOFFS!
• Establishing a children’s hospital and specialized cardiac unit
In response to questions about the impact of the Affordable Care Act, Supervisor Stone explained the hospital has to change the way it does business and learn how to market itself to entice people to come to the hospital for their healthcare. As part of that marketing plan, the Board intends to rename the County hospital to something like University Hospital. He encouraged employees to submit any suggestions they may have to help rebrand the hospital to tie it to the new medical teaching environment.
If you would like more information please contact SEIU 721 representatives Harold Sterker at (213) 248-1159, firstname.lastname@example.org or Rosie Martinez at (213) 494-8314 or email@example.com or the 721 Member Connection at (877) 721-4YOU.