Tuesday, May 26, 2015

State hospital workers facing forced overtime and staffing shortages

The Topeka Capital Journal published an article last week detailing the staffing crisis at Larned and Osawatomie State Hospitals. The article cites several factors likely contributing to the difficulty Kansas has in finding and keeping workers, chief among them is pay.

According to KDADS, Osawatomie State Hospital is supposed to have 501 full-time positions. Currently, 189 of those positions are vacant. The numbers represent a nearly 40 percent staff vacancy rate. KDADS said aggressive steps have been taken to reduce the number of patients at the facility, and that while there are vacancies, patients are receiving appropriate care.

Larned State Hospital, located southwest of Great Bend, should have 930 full-time positions. Right now, 322 of those are vacant, for a vacancy rate of about 35 percent.

The vacancy rates for part-time workers are even higher. Thirty-four of 61 part-time spots are vacant at Osawatomie, a rate of 55 percent. At Larned, 50 part-time positions out of a total of 112 are vacant, for a rate of 44 percent.

Staffing levels are so low that they’ve become a danger for both patients and staff, said Rebecca Proctor, director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees.

KOSE represents state workers, including state hospital workers. Proctor acknowledged the jobs are difficult by their very nature, where workers at times are putting their own lives on the line.

Without the ability to maintain a full staff, the hospitals have had to turn to other measures to keep operations running smoothly. Often, those measures include mandatory overtime.

Mandatory overtime may include requiring workers to remain on the job for an additional shift. At times, it also means workers are asked to come in to work a shift before their regular shift.

Proctor said hospitals will begin calling in workers if they can’t fill a shift through mandates.

Turning off your cellphone, even if it is to go to sleep, is no guarantee a worker won’t be reached. Proctor said supervisors have been sent to knock on the doors of workers to wake them if they can’t be reached by phone.

KDADS spokeswoman Cara Sloan-Ramos said mandatory overtime is a regular practice at Larned and Osawatomie, but isn’t used at the other state hospitals. Sloan-Ramos said there are no limits on how often overtime work can be mandated and also noted that mandatory overtime is a practice used by other institutions as well.

Mandatory overtime is necessary at times to ensure adequate staffing for patient care and treatment, Sloan-Ramos said.

Read more

InterHab Update

Tune in for the latest on the 2015 Power Up! InterHab Annual Conference and much more!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Upcoming training events

Next month InterHab is offering two unique online training opportunities. Both of these training sessions cover topics which are essential to operating an efficient organization.

Health Care Reporting: Get Ready Now!
June 4th, starting at 8:30 a.m.
Although the reporting requirements have already been delayed and could be challenged by Congress, most employers are still required to complete and issue new ACA reporting forms starting next year. These requirements will consist of two new tax forms - due in early 2016 - that are designed to provide information to employees and the IRS about the health coverage offered to employees throughout 2015.

Beginning in 2016, all employers that are subject to the ACA's employer mandate will be required to report the following:
• The health coverage they offered their employees in 2015
• Employee utilization of that health coverage

The webinar will be presented by Julie Athey, J.D., Director of Compliance at The Miller Group. The Miller Group provides risk management solutions to protect your corporate and personal assets, and works extensively with nonprofits in the Midwest.

Register Today

Are You a Workers Compensation Top Performer?
June 9th, starting at 9 a.m.
Workers compensation is one program that is 90% priced and controlled by how effective the organizations program is. An organization has the ability to implement the policies needed for a good program along with following the Kansas State Work Comp laws. Areas of strong focus are:
- Prompt Reporting of Incidents
- Directing Medical Care
- Return To Work Program
- Accident Investigation
- Strong Safety/HR Policies
- Accountability

We will cover best practices for managing the workers compensation program to become one of the Top Performers in your industry. This webinar is presented by Brenda Rice, IMA Risk Consultant. Brenda has 15 years experience specializing in workers compensation, accident prevention, workplace safety, ergonomics, healthcare and social service agencies.

Register Today

Monday, May 4, 2015

InterHab Update

Updated revenue forecast shows deeper hole

According to the Kansas Center for Economic Growth a newly revised revenue forecast lowers expectations for future general fund receipts. The report published last week gives the following three key points and conclusion:

  1. Revenue has fallen sharply, with no rebound in sight
  2. The revised revenue estimate may not be low enough yet
  3. The budget gap became larger for the 2016 fiscal year

Conclusion: To be financially healthy, the state needs $6.478 billion in ongoing revenue in order to spend $6.478 billion. If tax policy had been left alone three years ago, Kansas would now have enough income to fund the budget being considered. Instead, deep tax cuts have reduced the state’s revenue stream far below the amount needed to responsibly fund education and other key programs.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Push Day statehouse rally media coverage

Kansans with intellectual and developmental disabilities made front page news today as reporting of the Capitol rally spread through local media. Along with articles from news outlets such as the Topeka Capitol Journal, KHI News, Wichita Eagle (video below) to name a few, the Lawrence Journal World took the 2015 InterHab Push Day Rally to the front page of it's print newspaper (article below).  

Hundreds rally at statehouse to support social services 
TOPEKA - Hundreds of disabled individuals, along with their families and their advocates, rallied at the Statehouse on Thursday to call for full funding of social services that they rely on to continue living independently.

Many of those attending were people with physical and developmental disabilities that are so severe they qualify under Medicaid to live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. But with certain kinds of non-medical assistance known as “home and community based services,” they are able to live on their own or with their families. Those services include things like help with personal hygiene, house cleaning, and monitoring a person’s sleep and medication.

Although Kansas lawmkers have not yet proposed cuts to those services — in fact, the state’s total social services budget is expected to grow by $138 million — advocates for those individuals say they worry that cuts could be right around the corner as lawmakers grapple with trying to fill a $422 million budget hole for next year.

“When we see looming problems in achieving a tax package that could pay the bills, one of the things you have to think about is where they can cut,” said Tom Laing, executive director of Interhab, a Topeka-based organization that advocates for the rights of people with developmental disabilities. “And with Medicaid being such a big chunk of the budget, we don’t want to see them balancing the budget on the backs of Medicaid.”...

Photo by Nick Krug. Lawrence resident Rachel Blann, right, hugs her facilitator, 
Roxana Covarrubias, of Lawrence, during a rally for those protesting potential 
cuts to disability services, Thursday, April 30, 2015, on the south side of the 
Kansas Statehouse in Topeka. Several hundred Kansans with disabilities and 
advocates for disability services went to the Capitol to speak with lawmakers, 
who are in the middle of attempting to balance the state budget.