By ABBY SOUZA
Tuolumne General Hospital has completed one of its financial recovery goals six days ahead of schedule.
By doing so, the hospital has saved $269,000 more than originally planned.
With Tuolumne County supervisors' approval yesterday to eliminate three vacant positions, hospital Administrator Barry Woerman checked off one of 10 cost-cutting or revenue-raising ideas listed in TGH's financial recovery plan.
The staff-reduction portion of the plan was originally expected to save the fiscally ailing hospital $191,000.
But after renegotiating some major contracts, reducing hours in part-time relief positions and by not filling vacant positions, Woerman said TGH will save $450,000 a year.
"There's been a lot that's gone on in the past several months," Bill Morse, a county human resources analyst, said of staff reductions. Most cuts were made in administrative areas.
But the three unfilled medical positions the supervisors unanimously agreed to cut from the budget yesterday include a physician, nurse supervisor and staff therapist assistant. Those three slots saved the hospital $290,391.
Woerman said positions in his office, the business office, central supply and purchasing are among other areas where cuts have been made.
"We're just finding ways to work smarter," Woerman said.
Now that TGH has completed this part of its recovery plan, Woerman and his staff can concentrate on the other nine ideas they proposed.
Making the Visiting Nurses Association its own county-funded program, beginning a dental program, and adding eight beds to the long-term care department are among ideas put forth in the recovery plan the board OK'd earlier this month.
"We're on time with every one of our goals," Woerman said.
Beds have been filling up fast in almost every department of the hospital. The psychiatric unit, for example, has been receiving outside county referrals and had 12 patients for the first three weeks of March. The average in February was eight.