VUMC adapting to federal budget sequestration

Hiring now planned; vacation time accrual to be reinstated

Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s cost-cutting plan — which began nearly two years ago and, as such, many months prior to sequestration — is apparently paying off.

Earlier this year, Dr. Jeff Balser told VUMC employees that despite budget cuts of $40 million implemented over the then previous 18 months, university officials were seeking another $50 million in reductions due to the federally mandated sequestration rules (essentially, forced budget cuts) now in play.

“Like our peers across the country, we have been reeling from the effects of sequestration and other federal legislation that abruptly reduced payment through not one, but three of our largest federal revenue streams — Medicare, Medicaid and the National Institutes of Health,” said Balser, VUMC vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

But in a May 24 communique to employees, the tone of Balser’s message turned positive as the decision was made to reinstate previously shuttered programs and to hire more folks.

"Our hospitals and clinics are full, and our educational programs are hitting new records for numbers of applicants and student quality," said Balser (pictured). Despite the most competitive circumstances in decades at the NIH, our faculty are achieving grant funding at remarkable rates against almost impossible odds. The impact of your resilience is unmistakable..."

VUMC soon plans to hire for two types of positions: patient contact employees (such as nurses) and researchers for grant- funded projects.

Beginning July 1, VUMC employees can begin again accruing vacation time.