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FIVE-POINT OPERATING AND COST REDUCTION PROGRAM ANNOUNCED AT NORTH PHILADELPHIA HEALTH SYSTEM

 FIVE-POINT OPERATING AND COST REDUCTION PROGRAM ANNOUNCED
 AT NORTH PHILADELPHIA HEALTH SYSTEM
 PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Citing increased costs of providing health care, and the goal of dispensing quality health care in the most disadvantaged areas of Philadelphia, North Philadelphia Health System (NPHS) today announced a sweeping operating and cost reduction program.
 This program comes 16 months after North Philadelphia Health System was formed by the consolidation of Girard Medical Center and St. Joseph's Hospital.
 "This is the final step in correcting our course over the last 16 months," said William L. Vazquez, president and chief executive officer of North Philadelphia Health System. "We must balance our responsibilities not only as a major employer and health care provider, but also as a sound business partner," he added.
 "North Philadelphia Health System cannot fulfill its mission of community service unless it is on firm financial footing, with adequate cashflow to meet its obligations in a more timely manner," said Vazquez.
 Speaking to a meeting of department heads from NPHS this morning, Vazquez said, "Our goal is to continue to deliver high quality medical care to the people of the North Philadelphia community, in the most cost-effective manner possible."
 "We have made, we feel, responsible, prudent management decisions -- without affecting the quality of care delivered by Girard Medical Center and St. Joseph's Hospital," Vazquez explained.
 During the morning meeting, Vazquez outlined the five-point program which is designed to dramatically reduce the current operating deficit and save North Philadelphia Health System approximately $3 million.
 -- There will be a consolidation of elective scheduled operating room services at the Health System's Girard Medical Center Division. Surgical services at the St. Joseph's Hospital Division operating room will be on stand-by for emergency procedures.
 -- Laboratory work will now be centralized at the St. Joseph's Hospital Division, with a "stat" lab maintained at Girard Medical Center.
 Together, the consolidation of operating room and laboratory facilities will save just under $1 million.
 -- A system-wide hiring freeze is in effect.
 -- A moratorium on overtime is in effect.
 -- There will be a 5 percent reduction in the NPHS workforce of 1,730 people. Approximately 57 positions are being reduced. Starting with the office of the president of NPHS, there will be reductions in 25 various departments. Vazquez said, "All those affected by the reductions will remain on the payroll until January 3, 1992."
 Vazquez said during the meeting this morning, "This by far was the most difficult decision our board of directors and administrative team faced. But, these reductions will be felt at both facilities -- in management and the union ranks."
 "Most importantly," Vazquez said, "we made the decision regarding staff with one goal in mind -- we would not reduce the number of people who are part of the direct care staff. We are committed to making sure that patient care will not be affected by this important part of our cost reduction program."
 "We need to reduce our budget deficit, improve our cashflow, and utilize all of our current resources to the fullest," he explained. "We must be a lean operation, but further dedicate ourselves to bringing the community the kind of health care it deserves."
 North Philadelphia Health System comprises Girard Medical Center on 8th Street and Girard Avenue, and St. Joseph's Hospital on 16th Street and Girard Avenue. The two facilities consolidated in August 1990. The 409-bed health care system offers medical/surgical care, psychiatric services, and services for the chemically dependent patient. The Health System had more than 90,000 patient visits (most of them North Philadelphia residents) last year.
 /delval/
 -0- 12/17/91
 /CONTACT: Katherine Sherk of North Philadelphia Health System, 215-787-9503/ CO: North Philadelphia Health System ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA SU:


MK-CC -- PH007 -- 2895 12/17/91 11:01 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 17, 1991
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