An industry study released this week found nine out of ten hospitals across the country have made cuts. Hospitals in the Peoria area say they're definitely feeling financial pressures. However, they say the changes are there to help their bottom line, and won't impact the patients they serve. "We are certainly trying to avoid any cuts in patient care areas," OSF Saint Francis Medical Center CEO Ken Harbaugh said.
"We have not had staff layoffs. We've not touched any positions in patient care. Basically, it's been in administrative support and non-essential areas," Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh says they're limiting travel, and cutting capital equipment expenses from small scale items like stretchers to MRI scanners. Other area hospitals are doing the same.
"Big ticket items, we just may not make those purchases this year," Steve Wilson of Proctor Hospital said.
Wilson says they too are scaling back in areas that won't affect patient care. They've cut benefits, getting rid of their 401k matching program and there will be no salary increases this year. Hospitals says it pays to make small changes that add up.
"Something as simple as eliminating color copies or going to 2-sided copies or using e-mail instead of paper copies," Harbaugh said.
Hospital administrators say it's a question of staying ahead of the game. And no matter where they're forced to cut back, it won't affect the people they serve.
"I wouldn't expect anything we do this year to impact patient care in any way," Wilson said.
Pekin Hospital and Methodist say they've also made similar cutbacks. Though it's not been the case here in Peoria, the survey found one out of five hospitals in the country have cut patient services.