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Ask Mr. Answer Person: "Why didn't Winneshiek Medical Center employees get pay raises?"

Posted: Thu, Aug 25, 2011 3:10 PM

Jeff e-mails Mr. Answer Person: "Paul, I know that you follow the hospital operations quick closely and find them interesting.  Just had to share if you are not aware the Clinic employees were told Wednesday that they would not be getting pay raises again this next year.  This will make 2 out of the last 3 years that no raises were given.  Last year it was a 2.5% raises. And like everyone else the costs of health insurance keep rising for them as well.  This information was given basically the same day that you reported the Hospital was over 1 million from last year.

It is not my purpose to get anyone in trouble but seems interesting that all the government agencies - City, County, School etc get annual raises of 2 to 4% annually while a County Hospital which I consider essential services are told to do without.  My big question is are the administrators being given increases or is it a facility wide freeze."

Mr. Answer Person replies: You have gotten several important facts WRONG, Jeff, so let me try to straighten out the situation:

--There are two types of pay raises given to Winneshiek Medical Center employees.  The first is a "merit pay" increase, based on the quality of work an employee does.  Hospital officials have indeed written a letter to employees stating "We will not have a merit increase this year."  Basically, the economy continues to be sluggish, so the hospital is cutting its expenses for this fiscal year by over $1 million.

But the second type of pay raise given at the hospital is a "market adjustment," and these raises WILL be given.

Basically, this type of raise is given to help the hospital stay competitive in the wages it offers.  Using figures compiled by the Iowa Hospital Association, the hospital will give "market adjustments" of from one percent to five percent to most employee's salaries.  These pay raises are given to categories of employees and the amount of the raise depends on the increases in wages paid for similar positions in the health care industry, especially in Iowa.

Winneshiek Medical Center officials have budgeted around $470,000 in additional salary expenses for this fiscal year.  The letter from the hospital states, "Most of our positions in the medical center will receive between a 1 percent and 5 percent market adjustment, with the average being 2 percent."

Finally, the top four administrators at Winneshiek Medical Center--Chief Administrative Officer Dan Werner, Chief Financial Officer Lynn Luloff, Chief Operating Officer Jordahl and Chief Nursing Officer Linda Klimesh will receive market adjustment pay raises averaging two percent--just like the rest of the hospital staff.

Hope this sets the record straight, Jeff--hospital employees, including the top four administrators, WILL be getting pay raises ranging from 1-5 percent and averaging 2 percent.

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