The financial problems at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, discussed at last week’s UA Board of Trustees meeting, are now having an impact on staff.
A memo distributed to staff Wednesday by Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner told of restrictions on filling job vacancies and a suspension of some pay increases along with a new budget process to look for ways to improve finances.
I hope to have more, but here’s Gardner’s memo:
Dear UAMS Family,
As you are aware, UAMS, like other academic medical centers across the country, has experienced financial pressures for some time. Although our annual revenue has consistently exceeded our expenses, it has not been enough to meet our infrastructure reinvestment needs. This has resulted in a budget deficit the last several years.
In our budget for Fiscal Year 2018 approved by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, we projected a $39 million deficit. With our limited state funding, our dependence on clinical revenue to fund our education and research missions, the rising cost of doing business, proposed cuts in Medicare reimbursement and changes to Arkansas Works and the Affordable Care Act expected next year, we are faced with even greater pressures now.
Over the last five years, we have taken many steps to better position UAMS for the future including developing the integrated clinical enterprise and changing to an expense-based budgeting system. However, if we are to meet our goal of a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2019, much more action is needed.
This means we must all work together even harder to enhance revenue and identify and eliminate unnecessary costs. As part of that effort, we will immediately be taking two more steps.
First, we will be limiting our hiring of new employees and replacement positions to only those that are of the greatest urgency. As part of this step, all reclassifications and out-of-cycle salary increases will also be suspended. A senior leadership team comprised of myself, Vice Chancellor for Finance Bill Bowes, Executive Vice Chancellor and College of Medicine Dean Pope Moseley and Vice Chancellor for Clinical Programs Richard Turnage will review all requests to fill positions.
As our second step, we will be working to revamp the budget process and suspending annual department and division budget hearings. Over the next several weeks, there will be opportunities for you to participate in work groups and help identify ways to improve our financial performance.
Just as UAMS cannot achieve its three-pronged mission of education, research and patient care without you, we cannot achieve our financial goals without your help. I am certain that by working together we will not only reach our goal of a balanced budget for FY 2019 but we will ensure the financial stability and success of UAMS for many years to come.
Stephanie Gardner, Pharm.D., Ed.D.
The memo raises fears on staff that a reduction in force could be in the offing. If