IRP consulting and development would have helped Cook County

IRP consulting and development would have helped Cook CountyJuly 10, 2014 by Vickie Anenberg

If anyone needs further proof of the value that internal resource pool (IRP) consulting and development has to offer, look no further than the damage caused by overtime costs at a healthcare system in one of the nation’s largest counties.

As reported by the New York Times, overtime expenses in Cook County, Illinois – home to Chicago – a couple of years ago were 50 percent over budget. Most of those overruns were due to the county’s Health and Hospitals system, which accounts for one third of Cook County’s $3 billion budget.

One of the hospitals in the system was already 253 percent over budget during the first six months of the year, spending $1.8 million in overtime pay, while another doubled its targeted overtime budgets during that same span.

Overtime has been an ongoing problem for Cook County. In 2010, it budgeted $53 million for overtime but spent $72.9 million. One county official told the newspaper that the hospital system has gone without filling vacancies “that are obviously critical, like nursing,” and that this “leads to a greater-than-expected overtime.”

Commissioner Jerry Butler, who is chairman of the county’s Health and Hospitals Committee, told the Times that, “If someone doesn’t show up for work, someone’s got to fill the spot until someone shows up.”

Although Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he did not favor using furloughs as a way to save money, the president of the Cook County Board would not rule them out as a tool to avoid layoffs.

A better way to keep overtime in check

Instead of furloughs and layoffs, Cook County could have used an IRP to gain control of its overtime costs. These pools create a group of healthcare professionals who can be called upon to fill open shifts and unexpected vacancies. An IRP costs less than overtime because the hourly rate is lower and the workforce does not require the training and onboarding that recruiting someone from outside the organization would.

Cross Country Staffing has been providing IRP consulting and development services for years, and works with clients to create a solution unique to their individual circumstances. Contact Cross Country Staffing today to find out how we can help you.