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My fiancee brought this home from her hospital tonight:

To: All Departments

From: Hospital Administration

Date: 5/24/01

Re: Cost Cutting

In an effort to reduce costs this year, the following are effective immediately. Please share this information with your patients and physicians as soon as possible.

1. Food service will be discontinued immediately. Patients wishing to eat will want to get their families to bring them a brown bag meal, or you make your own arrangements with Subway, Dominos, etc. Coin operated telephones will be available in patient rooms for this purpose.

2. Our PBX operators have all been let go, so if you are walking through the lobby and hear the telephone ringing, please answer it.

3. We have found it necessary to make substantial reductions in our transport team so we ask the cooperation of all patients. One transporter will take at least six patients in wheelchairs at a time to Radiology, PT and other services. Please form a “train” by holding tightly on to the handles of the wheelchair in front of you.

4. Our Emergency Room is really busy from 3PM to 11PM so, if you can, please have your accidents and heart attacks in the mornings or early afternoons. That would be really helpful and will help to reduce your wait.

5. To expedite surgery cases, all AM admits and outpatient surgery patients are asked to report to the hospital 3 hours prior to surgery. Go to Central Supply, pick up a clean instrument tray and surgery pack, and proceed to the surgery holding area. To help us reduce drug costs, please take several Aleve prior to arriving.

6. Patients anticipating the need for a bedpan can check one out in the gift shop. They will be available in a wide variety of colors and styles to meet the esthetic
and physical requirements of our patients. A deposit will be required but is fully refundable if bedpans are returned clean.

7. To reduce patients’ length of stay, nurses will have a choice of using in-line skates or skateboards. To expedite response to patients needs and discharges, nurse call systems will be modified and will be wired to a collar worn by nurses, which will deliver a mild shock when pushed by the patient.

8. Taking a cue from the airlines, Respitory Therapists will be replaced by oxygen masks which will, should the need arise, automatically drop from the ceiling over patients beds. If this occurs, please place the mask over your nose and mouth and breathe normally.

9. The hospital got a real sweet deal on surplus white waiter’s jackets and these will be issued to all physicians. Doctors, we apologize in advance because the jackets already had a first name embroidered on the pocket. We will work with you to find a name that you can live with.

10. All first time moms are asked to volunteer to help out on the Pediatrics floor – not only will this reduce hospital costs, but it will give you a much needed experience and a dose of reality after ogling over you own precious sleeping bundle of joy.

11. Housekeeping and physical therapy are being combined. Mops will be issued to those patients who are ambulatory, thus providing range-of-motion exercises as well as a clean environment. Family members and friends of patients and ambulatory patients may also sign up to clean public areas to receive special discounts on their final bills. Time cards will be provided.

12. Plant operations and Engineering are being eliminated. The hospital has purchased a subscription to the TIME-LIFE “How to” series of maintenance books. These books can be checked out form administration and a toolbox will be standard issue on all nursing units. We will be receiving the series at a rate of one volume every other month. We already have the volume on Basic Wiring, but if a non-electrical problem occurs, please try to handle it as best as you can until the appropriate volume arrives.

13. Cutbacks in the phlebotomy staff will be accommodated by only performing blood related lab test on patients who are already bleeding.

14. Physicians will be informed that they may order no more than two x-rays per patient stay. This is due to the turnaround time required by Walgreens photo lab. Two prints will be provided for the price of one, and physicians are being advised to clip coupons from the Sunday paper if they want extra sets. Walgreens will honor all competitors coupons for one-hour processing in emergency situations, so if you come across coupons from other vendors, please clip them and send them to the Emergency Room.

15. In light of the extremely hot summer temperatures and the high A/C bills that we received last summer, our new policy is to have fans available for sale or lease in the hospital gift shop. For those patients who do not wish to use electric fans, the old reliable hand held cardboard fans on a stick are free upon request.

16. The cost of hospital gowns continues to escalate so patients are asked to bring their own pajama top which nurses will be happy to slit up the back for you.
Pajama bottoms are not permitted on patient units.

17. On the way to the hospital, please stop by Target or Wal-Mart and pick up two sets of twin bed sheets. Should you require extra linens during your stay, coin operated washers and dryers are available for patient use.

18. Administration is assuming responsibility for grounds keeping duties. If an administrator cannot be reached by calling the Administrative offices, it is suggested that you walk outside and listen for the sound of a lawn mower, weed-wacker, etc. If you have any questions regarding these cost-cutting measures, please let us know.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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