Intermountain Healthcare Emerges With a Stronger and Focused Brand

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It's an unfortunate reality of human resources that sometimes the loss of jobs is unavoidable.

No employer takes pleasure in making redundancies, but in order to guarantee the survival of the company and ensure it remains relevant and profitable, it's sadly preferable that some roles be cut. After all, if the business goes under, then everyone is out of a job.

It's with this in mind that Intermountain Healthcare has recently undergone its own restructuring, and has now emerged from the other side with a more positive eye on the future.

Intermountain Healthcare

The restructure of the Salt Lake City-based healthcare provider has involved the cutting of 396 jobs and the creation of 107 new roles.

While this may sound brutal, it's worth considering that 59 of the cut jobs were already vacant - so no actual people lost their employment in those cases. Also, 67 of those roles were vacated because the people in them were unable to find another suitable position within Intermountain Healthcare.

The remaining employees were all found new roles within the company, forming a workforce of over 1,000 caregivers who have had their roles and job titles redesigned as part of the shakeup. Those changes follow announcements made earlier in 2018 that 98 information technology employees and approximately 2,300 billing and scheduling workers at Intermountain Healthcare were set to be outsourced to third party companies.

"Those who lost their jobs and didn't find work elsewhere in Intermountain were assisted in their search for new employment," said Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Intermountain Healthcare, Rob Allen. "Our human resources team has worked hard to help these 67 people through their transition and help them find new job opportunities. We know this has been challenging for them and their families, and our team has worked diligently to support them through this."

Most of the roles cut in the latest restructuring were management based. Intermountain Healthcare reports that the money saved from these cuts will be put back into the company in the form of more frontline caregiving staff, allowing the company to focus on clinical services over middle-management positions.

Apart from this, the main motivation behind the cuts was to help ensure Intermountain Healthcare's services remain competitive.

"Unless we address our costs, many people aren't going to be able to afford their health care," said Intermountain Healthcare President and CEO, Marc Harrison. "And our premiums are going to keep going up, we won't be competitive, and it will be bad for everyone. [...] Great organizations go through change at the moment it becomes appropriate, they don't wait for things to become an emergency."

New Services

Another way Intermountain Healthcare is making its services more accessible and affordable is by moving human resources to its new "Telehealth" service.

"It's been fantastic," said Harrison. "We launched one of the largest digital hospitals in the U.S. We have all of the intensive-care unit beds in the entire system monitored by our Tele-Critical Care program. And in every hospital, we serve in that fashion, the risk of mortality, cost per case, length of stay, and need for transfer all go down. It's also making our smaller hospitals financially viable."

Telehealth allows Intermont Healthcare to deliver better care to more remote locations with fewer human resources, creating a caregiving system which is convenient and available to more people who need it, while also cutting down on the number of staff required to deliver those services - freeing them up for busier locations.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes, the only option to make sure your healthcare organization stays relevant and affordable is to restructure. While this often means making tough choices about which roles are necessary and which are superfluous, the result is a stronger organization which is better structured to meet the challenges of the future and continue to be successful and profitable.

"The restructuring has been really successful," said Harrison. "One of our chief nursing officers who now works in quality recently said, 'You know, I was pretty sure that my colleagues and I were doing things all the same way, but now I can see how divergent we were.' And, she said, 'I'd never go back.'"

Restructuring of healthcare organizations is set to be a hot topic at HR Healthcare 2019, taking place in June at the Hyatt Regency Austin, TX.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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