Friday, November 14, 2008

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UT System Retains Firm to Aid UTMB Reconfiguration

UT System Retains Firm to Aid UTMB Reconfiguration AUSTIN – In a move to quickly address the reconfiguration of the clinical enterprise at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), the UT System has contracted a consulting firm to assist the system as plans are developed to position UTMB for future success.

Atlanta-based Kurt Salmon Associates will deploy a team of experts to conduct market, facility and financial analyses of UTMB. The firm will work closely with UT System officials and UTMB with the ultimate goal of defining a successful clinical model that includes a presence on the island as the institution continues to recover from the devastation caused by Hurricane Ike.

“We are committed to doing all that is possible to ensure a vibrant future for UTMB as it works diligently to restore its education, research and clinical care activities,” UT System Interim Chancellor Dr. Kenneth I. Shine said. “Retaining this highly-regarded, experienced consulting firm will assist efforts in the development of an optimum model that will allow UTMB to address the immediate financial crisis while at the same time outline plans for the institution’s future. This includes clinical activities on Galveston island and on the mainland of Galveston County.”

Kurt Salmon Associates is expected to complete its various analyses and report its findings and recommendations to UTMB and UT System officials by no later than the end of January. The UT System Board of Regents will then review the information and decide on a course of action. The institution will re-open up to 200 inpatient beds and an emergency room as soon as possible. A 16-bed maternity ward has already re-opened.

In the wake of Hurricane Ike’s landfall on Sept. 12, over the last two months UT System and UTMB officials have considered several options to address the financial losses and resulting financial exigency of the institution. Those management discussions resulted in a recommendation that a significant reduction in force would be necessary to ensure the long term viability of UTMB. After reviewing legal issues related to a reduction in force and individual positions to be eliminated in an executive session, the UT System Board of Regents on Nov. 12 instructed the UT System to work with UTMB President David Callender to implement the reduction in force of approximately 3,800 full-time equivalent positions recommended by UT System and UTMB.

Furthermore, the Board directed that steps be taken to mitigate the impact of the reduction in force on affected faculty and staff, including priority hiring of qualified employees for available positions at other UT System institutions, assistance in placement of employees with other healthcare institutions and employers, and exploration of opportunities for retirement incentive packages.

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