Burn Care Unit

Abstract

Managed care contracts have reduced the reimbursement levels for burn care in a regional hospital. On one hand, the burn care unit must reduce operating expenses by $500,000, and on the other, nurses are considering a strike for higher wages and benefits. Students are asked to analyze data and assist the CEO by devising a plan to reduce expenses while avoiding a nurses' strike. Students must manipulate realistic data to estimate the outcomes of proposed strategies to adequately staff the burn care unit at lower costs. The effects of student proposals must be estimated with regard to patient acuity classification, skill mixes, and long-term nurses' job satisfaction.

Designed for graduate students in health administration, the case provides an opportunity for students to consider the full range of a labor utilization issue, from the boardroom to the bedside. It can also be used for a mid-career program that teaches productivity, staffing/scheduling, reengineering delivery systems, and development and evaluation of operational strategies.

The case includes a substantial group assignment through which students must develop a method to estimate the annual cost of operating the unit, determine alternative strategies to reduce labor expenses and estimate the effects of these strategies, and communicate their recommendations and analysis to the CEO in a two page executive summary and a fifteen page full report.

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