A Difficult Week

In May, two months after assuming the role of CEO, I found myself on the verge of my first crisis.  The potential for an MNA strike made for an incredibly challenging time for me personally and for the entire UMass Memorial community; and if not for a group of incredibly dedicated and experienced leaders helping to guide me and the organization, the disaster of a strike might not have been averted.

Several of the leaders who helped us get through those difficult times have recently lost their jobs due to reductions in force, and it’s a painful reality that during financially difficult times, management has to be the first to contract and that is what has been going on this past week.

To everyone who has been impacted by the layoffs, I am very sorry and I promise we will do everything we can to help you through this difficult time.

To those of us that remain, please reach out to your friends who have lost their jobs and make sure they know we care about them, and appreciate their past contributions.

Layoffs are a temporary solution to our financial problems. Unless we all work together to improve the patient experience by eliminating long waits to get outpatient clinic appointments or getting admitted patients to floor beds, we will find ourselves back in this same situation over and over again.  It’s a vicious cycle and the only way to stop it is by improving the way we deliver care and becoming more sensitive to the needs of the patients so they chose to get their care with us.

The restructuring that occurred at the Medical Center and at Marlborough Hospital this week not only reduced positions, it aligned the management team around access, flow and care standardization which is our primary method of improving quality and service. As we went through this process we intentionally did everything we could to eliminate management positions and not reduce the number of people at the bedside or those whose roles are critical to improving access and flow.

As painful as this is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: months from now, if we stick to our operating plan, and you help us improve access, flow and service, the hardest part of our recovery and restructuring will be over. 

If you see or hear about people doing innovative things to improve these strategic priorities please send me a note so I can thank them personally.

Thanks for everything you do to take great care of our patients and one another especially during times like this,


1 thought on “A Difficult Week

  1. Eric: I want to give a shout out to Andrea Sweeney-Walsh our echo lab supervisor, Vanessa Vasquez-Azua our exercise physiologist, all of our echo techs, and our echo lab RN, Jim Mikolajczak who work very hard to convert non diagnostic non-imaging ETTs to stress echoes on the spot, so that our referring providers get an answer to their question. While I have no data on this, I believe that we have prevented lots of patients from having to take a second day off from work and helped faciliate earlier discharge from the CDU or the ward service. I am proud of my people

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