Brigham and Women's implements $41M cost-cutting initiative: 6 things to know

Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, began a cost-cutting drive last year amid increased pressures to reduce costs, STAT reports.

Here are six things to know about how the hospital's cost-cutting efforts.

1. Prior to the cost-cutting drive, the hospital had spent millions of dollars preparing for a planned nurses strike that was eventually averted. A record snowfall also temporarily stopped or restricted admissions, and the hospital had installed a $400 million EHR system, STAT reports.

2. The goal with the cost-cutting drive was to reduce the hospital's $2.6 billion annual spending by $50 million.

3. To help achieve this goal, the hospital offered voluntary retirement buyouts to 1,600 employees, but adjusted that number to approximately 1,200 after determining physicians and grant-funded researchers were included in that initial count. Approximately 800 individuals ultimately accepted.

4. Brigham and Women's also has strived to increase efficiency in terms of operating room use. The hospital came up with a plan where surgeons, who work in the OR in four-hour blocks, and their divisions "would release any unbooked slots 10 days in advance to the entire surgical community. In return, they were guaranteed an OR if they needed one at the last minute," according to STAT. The effort paid off. The ORs reached about 85 percent capacity just two months after the plan was implemented, the report states.

5. Additionally, the hospital saved money by reversing a decision to use mattress pads nurses preferred. Using the mattress pads nurses preferred cost Brigham and Women's $400,000 more annually than the mattress pads other hospitals owned by Boston-based Partners HealthCare had agreed to use, according to the report. The hospital reversed the previous mattress pad decision after determining no important difference between the two options.

6. With all of these and other cost-cutting efforts, Brigham and Women's has found $41 million in savings for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, according to the report.

Read the full report here.  

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