Boston hospital staff shows big heart

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heartThe CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston was facing the same dire task as many other business heads; reducing staffing costs in response to recession setbacks. According to Kevin Cullen in the Boston Globe, CEO Paul Levy took a quite different approach to the problem, however. He gathered together the hospital's staff of administrators, techs, nurses, aides, therapists, clerks, sanitation workers and all in the auditorium and made a bold proposal.

Rather than lay off the lowest paid staff, those who kept the floors clean, the towels stocked, the patients transported and the residents fed, he asked the gathered crowd if the higher-paid employees would be willing to give up some of their salary and benefits so that these people could keep their jobs.


The response was immediate, enthusiastic applause. Afterward, Cullen received emails reinforcing the willingness of the staff to sacrifice so that their co-workers could avoid losing their jobs. Some even make concrete suggestions about how this could be accomplished, offering to forgo bonuses, or work one less day a week, or pass on planned raises, or give up vacation or sick days.

How refreshing to see a group of people who recognize that their well being is enhanced, rather than threatened, by acts of generosity, and that hard times are times when we should pull together rather than apart. If you're looking for hospital with a heart, Beth Israel sounds like your kind of place.

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