The company that I will be researching and documenting their benefits is the Atlanta Memorial Hospital where my mother, Nina Smith, has been employed for the past 10 years. Nina enjoys her job and the work that she does considering that she likes helping people by showing kindness and concern for their ailments. Throughout her career at the hospital, I can only find one thing that she has complained about when it comes to the employee benefits. The benefit that she complains about is when employees have to take a sick day for low census. This means that when the hospital experiences low patient enrollment then a large number of staff is unneeded for that particular night. This also means that the employee who is given the night off still gets paid, but that payment comes from them taking a sick day that has accumulated on their account. Nina feels that the employee sick days should not be taken away in accordance to the low census because that decreases the number of sick days available to the employees when they actually do become sick. Nina is grateful for being able to take the night off when there is low census because she works a graveyard shift and this allows for her to get more rest.
The most logical solution to such a dilemma seems to be that another benefit category should be established for just a low census case. Each employee should have a low census account that includes at least 5 low census days. On average Nina takes about 2 low census days a month. This way the employees will not be forced to use their sick days, which should be available when they are sick, for an unforeseen incident that should be the company’s loss. Even though the employees are receiving a day off when low census occurs they are the ones who take the loss and not the company. That is what needs to be addressed and that is also what needs to be changed.
In addition to the benefit of having sick days, Atlanta Memorial Hospital also provides 2 weeks of vacation days with pay. The employee is able to select the days that they prefer to be off during a specific time of the year. Health coverage is also provided at a discounted rate which costs the employee only $20 per month. This discounted health coverage is cheaper for the hospital to provide than it is for the employee to buy the insurance on their own. The employee is only responsible in paying a $40 co-pay when necessary ailments should arise or if they just need to have a check-up. In addition to the mentioned benefits, at the end of each year each employee receives a cash bonus depending on their years on the job and not based on their positions. That is a very fair bonus and serves as a great motivating factor for employees to remain at their jobs and to have great performance throughout the year.
According to Atlanta Memorial, the hospital is located in Cass County, 170 miles from Dallas, TX and 50 miles from Shreveport, LA. Atlanta Texas is home to 5,945 people. Established as a Municipal Hospital, AMH was opened in 1972 to serve the people of this area. AMH is on Highway 77 and South William Street, 25 miles South of I-30 and about 40 miles North of I-20.
The specific benefit plan that clearly needs to be addressed is the low census days that require that the employees use their set aside sick days. The employees should have an individual category of time set apart for such an incident as low census so that they may keep their sick days for when they really are sick. This is the basic issue that needs to be addressed and modified in order to ensure that the employees are benefiting from their benefit plans. Employee benefits were created to make the lives of the employees better. Not only that, the benefits were created to motivate the employees to do their jobs to the best of their ability. When benefits are manipulated then the employees begin to feel as if they have been manipulated and they are less likely to put their best effort forward. An organization should always cater to the needs of their employees because they are the ones carrying the workload that allows for the business to run smoothly.
Although the issue of low census day is the main issue here, the low census use is directly related to the sick day benefits. Atlanta Memorial Hospital takes a loss when they have a limited number of patients in the hospital. This means that they are not getting paid the big bucks that they would normally get paid when all bed units are filled. So what goes on is they diminish the amount of pay that they have to give to the employees by taking their sick days and supplementing their low census. This way they are able to recover and not lose as much funding.
The Controller Forum is a piece of literature that focuses on ways to reward its employees while cutting costs at the same time when it comes to salary compensation. They are able to provide the employees with all of the necessary motivating incentives through particular rewards without having a steady rising salary cost. This is a good way to keep the employees motivated and also save money for the business at the same time. Sometimes it is good to have something more than a steady paycheck. Rewards are just as important as the pay. This is the good component that Atlanta Memorial has incorporated into the employees’ salaries and benefits. End of year bonuses, vacation days, sick days, and health benefits are all included for the employees.
Another piece of literature that I utilized for this project was Employers and Sick Leave. This article discusses what an employer is and isn’t required to provide when it comes to “sick leave”. Employers can opt to provide sick leave but certain laws must be followed such as: The employee can take sick leave as long as they are seriously ill or if a family member is seriously ill. On the other hand, an employer can opt not to provide sick leave at all. This means that if an employee should become ill then they risk the chance of losing their employment. This is not really a fair deal, but the employee has to make the decision prior to becoming hired.
In Metlife, another literature review, employees benefit focus and health is discussed. Many employees realize that when they are in good health they seem to make better decisions. When employers offer incentives associated with good health then that motivates employees and in turn make employers financial responsibility less of a burden. Atlanta Memorial Hospital offers a discounted rate to their health facility located about ½ mile from the hospital. All of the necessary exercise equipment, personal trainers, fitness classes, and nutritional guidance is provided to the employees. Maybe if Atlanta Memorial offered such incentives for being fit then maybe more employees would take part in the program.
Atlanta Memorial Hospital should really consider allowing their employees the option to have a low census allowance each month. This would mean giving them at least 5 low census allowances per month. Should the employee go over their allowance, then that is when they should be docked from their sick days. This will give the employee some leeway and will also provide the employer with leeway without taking advantage of the employees. Having the employees involved in the choice of benefits could make a difference and be fairer. This may even increase motivation of employees.
Employees should be included in the decision making process in the following ways: There are 3 levels of coverage that are available. The basic benefit doesn’t allow the employee the option to choose where they receive medical care. But the good thing about this is that you don’t have to pay anything should you have to stay in the hospital, but the doctor must let you go home as soon as possible.
The medium level includes a larger selection of what hospital the employee is able to go to. Depending on the cost of the hospital you may wind up paying $50 a day. You must also be discharged as soon as possible.
The high level of benefits allows you to choose the hospital but you are responsible for 10% of the cost but there is no limitation when it comes to how long you are able to remain in the hospital.
Now that employees are involved in the process, the employers have to get back to focusing on the cost of the benefits. Many have realized that on average, health coverage is costing them $3000 for each employee and their families. This can sometimes lead to layoffs and decreased benefit packages. It seems that the employers are taking the initiative to make sure that none of those take place.
Week 3’s objective for discussion consisted of the student identifying with healthcare costs and also how much control the employees actually have over the benefits. The question for the week was as follows: Why is consumer driven healthcare an area of focus now? Consumer driven healthcare allows for the people to identify which coverage they would prefer. They have the ability to compare what they can and can’t afford. If they know they have an ongoing illness then they can purchase more, but if they just want to be able to have a physical every year then they can choose that option. Well, the article that I have found goes hand in hand with the discussion and I will provide some of the points of interest that are included in the article.
The problem that has needed to be addressed and changed is basically the issue of sick days being taken away from employees to cover low census days. This is not a very fair policy as has been established in previous exercises. According to Nina Smith, the issue of low census days has not been addressed at Atlanta Memorial Hospital and such does need to be implemented. A solution to the problem should consist of an employer/employee meeting being conducted. The meeting will bring this issue to everyone’s attention and get their input on the subject matter. Some questions that will be posed are as follows: Do you all know that your sick days are being used to cover low census days when you are able to get the night off from work?; Are you all okay with how these days are being managed? Could you all please give some suggestions as to how to better correct the issue so that all can be happy and so all can be fair?
When all of the employees and employers are involved in the process then an overall consensus can be reached. This way most everyone will be able to have their input on the issue. More ways to get everyone’s input without being concerned about backlash and irritation from time constraints would be to make everyone aware of a potential survey that is going to be conducted. The survey would ask the questions presented in the previous paragraph in addition to more personalized questions. There would also be an area which would ask for detailed concerns from the employees. The survey would be an anonymous one so that no one can be pinpointed. There should also be an incentive for the completion of the survey. For instance, if the survey is completed online then a reference number could be given to the employee to present for the incentive. Many people are less likely to complete a survey if they are not being given an incentive.
The meeting and survey strategies to gain insight from employees are a cheap and inexpensive way to get to know the views of everyone. According to Nina Smith, employee meetings are held every 2 weeks and last about 30-45 minutes. Many people disregard the meetings because they feel that the information that is presented is not beneficial to them and is very repetitive. Improvement needs to come in order to get the employees to get involved. Refreshments should be served at the meetings to help to take their minds off of how long the meeting is going to last. Other than the cost of refreshments and what it may cost to set up an online survey this can be a pretty inexpensive way to get feedback s well as to inform people of what is going on.
The pros of this procedure are very obvious such as there won’t be a need to be unfair to the employees by taking away sick days that could really be needed in the future. In addition, there will be more incentives added to the benefit programs. The cons that could be presented are that they superiors of the organization who are responsible for payment to the employees may be concerned that they will experience an increase in the finances. If this is an issue then the employer should look at it as a way to help motivate their employees to do their jobs more efficiently. Sometimes employers tend to forget how valuable their employees are to them instead of worrying about how they may be able to get ahead financially.
Nina Smith has repeatedly complained about having to use sick days when low census occurred. In the future, her view of complaining will cease because she won’t have to worry about her sick days decreasing. This will show that the plan is effective and should continue to be implemented.
Because this is an issue that can be fixed in a small timeframe, there will be adequate time to cover the issue. As far as finances are concerned, this will have to be evaluated to ensure the set number of low census days that can be provided should there not be enough clientele for the need of extra people on duty. A budget will need to be allocated towards being able to meet the needs of the employees.
In this case the analysis of the importance of fair benefits is the main focus. Nina Smith, an employee at Atlanta Memorial Hospital for the past 10 years, has mentioned her disappointment with the type of benefits concerning low census. This has been an issue on the job because many of the nurses on call are displeased when they must go home after showing up to work. As most would, the employees would rather make money that to be sent home only to lose a sick day.
In conclusion, this may seem like a petty thing to be disappointed over at a job, but in the end the employee’s attitude at this issue is really what matters. In business it is important to ensure that employees and employers are treated fairly alike. In the end the employees are who keep the business running smoothly. Never forget to take care of those who help you to grow because if you neglect their needs then they may not be able to flourish to their own potential.
Atlanta Memorial Hospital. Retrieved January 31, 2010. http://www.atlantamemorial.com/
The Controller’s Forum. Retrieved January 31, 2010. http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdf?vid=4&hid=8&sid=95c523d1-fe85-4008-a321-2b70f5f40939%40sessionmgr11.
O’brien, Peg. Employers and Sick Leave: An Overview. New Hampshire Business Review.Retrieved January 31, 2010 from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdf?vid=5&hid=8&sid=95c523d1-fe85-4008-a321-2b70f5f40939%40sessionmgr11.
Metlife. Small Business Benefits. Retrieved January 31, 21010 from http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/pdf?vid=6&hid=108&sid=95c523d1-fe85-4008-a321-2b70f5f40939%40sessionmgr11
Danis, Marion MD. Enhancing Employee Capacity to Prioritize Health Insurance Benefits. Retrieved on January 25, 2010 from http://web.ebscohost.com/chc/pdf?vid=7&hid=103&sid=ca9fd148-9b0f-4a58-a00f-797a5a9248f0%40sessionmgr112.
Smith, Nina. Atlanta Memorial Hospital Employee.