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GLENDALE : Medical Center Cuts Wages, Hours

September 25, 1993|TOMMY LI

In an effort to balance its $115-million 1993 budget, employees at Glendale Adventist Medical Center will have to take either a 5% wage cut or the equivalent in reduced work hours, starting Sunday, officials said.

The move comes on top of the hospital's decision to lay off 49 workers in the hospital's engineering and operations departments. Most of those employees were hired back by a company the hospital contracted with to take over the departments, officials said.

"A lot of hospitals in Southern California have had to lay off staff . . . or make other reductions," said Beth Powis, communications manager for the hospital. The wage and time reductions will affect all of the hospital's 1,700 employees, she said.

The hospital is ordering the reductions because the 88-year-old medical facility needs to ax $1 million in expenses by the end of the year to stay out of the red, said hospital Vice President David R. Igler. A total of 1,200 employees--mainly nurses, administrators and technical staff--agreed to the 5% pay cut, while the rest--mainly office staff--agreed to work fewer hours.

Altogether, the reductions will save between $600,000 and $700,000. Another $300,000 was saved with layoffs and adjustments in the overtime pay policy for nurses, Igler said.

Despite the tight budget, Igler and Powis said there is no hiring freeze and medical services will remain the same.

"We see no decrease in the quality of the service," Igler said. "I think we're going to see service improve. The employees realize that we're really going to have to work together to work hard for this hospital to be a (financially) strong hospital."

Glendale Adventist Medical Center has received less-than-anticipated income this year for treating patients, Igler said.

In particular, he said, the length of time patients stay in the hospital has also been sharply dropping. If length of stay continues to drop next year, as expected, the hospital could be forced to make another $2.5 million in cuts--including layoffs of between 60 and 70 workers, Igler said.

"We are kind of depressed about it," said an employee, who asked not to be identified. "But we feel that this is a lot better than . . . laying off people."

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