Brigham Health President Betsy Nabel, MD, highlighted the importance of a strong financial foundation in achieving our mission during Town Meeting on May 25. Like many hospitals across the country, the Brigham faces financial challenges such as flat reimbursement rates from government payers, but Nabel assured BWHers that this difficult period is temporary and the hospital will come out much stronger on the other side.
“We are focused on improving our financial health, and we need to do that so we can carry out our strategy,” Nabel said to those gathered in Bornstein Amphitheater and more than 450 employees who watched via webcast.
To improve our financial health, there are three key areas that Brigham Health needs to focus on, Nabel explained: growth, revenue enhancement and reducing expenses.
Nabel walked employees through the timeline of the Voluntary Retirement Opportunity (VRO) and explained how it will help to reduce expenses. Approximately 1,500 employees are eligible, and, in line with industry trends, about 30 percent are expected to accept the offer.
Many positions made vacant by BWHers who accept the offer will be backfilled, Nabel said, which will provide opportunities for internal advancement and promotion.
Simultaneously, Brigham Health is also looking at workflow redesign to maximize efficiency, with particular focus on administrative areas and functions.
Once both initiatives have completed, Brigham leadership will determine the extent of a further reduction in force, said Nabel. This will occur in the fall.
“All of this is being done in a thoughtful, coordinated manner to ensure that our patients remain at the center of all that we do and that the high-quality care that we deliver will never be compromised,” Nabel said.
Inclusion Remains a Top Priority
Nabel and Sabrina Williams, MBA, interim vice president of Human Resources at Brigham Health, shared details about inclusion initiatives in the pipeline.
Nabel emphasized the Brigham is deeply committed to providing the best possible care for all patients and their families, which means embracing differences and having a workforce that reflects the populations we care for.
Williams noted that BWH is working on an inclusion strategy, which will focus on recruitment, retention and cultural competency.
Advocating Care for All
During the open forum, Jennifer Goldsmith, MS, MEd, director of Administration for the Division of Global Health Equity, asked if Brigham Health would take a stand on the proposed health care bill passed by U.S. House Republicans, which the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office recently reported would leave 23 million people without health insurance coverage by 2026.
Nabel confirmed that the Brigham is taking a stand against the bill through a variety of mechanisms, primarily by working with the Massachusetts delegation in Washington, D.C.
“There is absolutely no way this country can allow more than 20 million individuals to lose health insurance,” Nabel said. “We will continue to fight to ensure it doesn’t happen.”
If you missed Town Meeting, watch the webcast here (must be on the Partners network to view).