The CEO of the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics says there’s progress in addressing the financial challenges that face the state’s largest hospital. So far this year, the hospital’s budget is nearly two percent in the red.
But CEO Ken Kates says his institution’s finances are improving due to a high volume of patients and some cost-cutting. “As we reported last month, we have an initiative focused on expense reductions, such as reducing the use of agency nurses and I’m pleased to report that over the last two months we’ve reduced 99 agency nurses,” Kates says. “Our goal is to reduce 151 by January 1.”
Kates spoke to the board that governs the university this morning.
So-called “agency” nurses are temps brought in to fill full-time vacancies. Kates says nine percent of the 2,600 full-time nursing positions at the hospital are currently vacant. Meanwhile, patient demand is high. A record 740 patients were in the hospital on October 5.
Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Dean Borg