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Windber Medical Center

Adherence to staff hierarchy and unquestioned physician authority were the norm. However, with the demise of the coal industry, Windber Medical Center lost its key clientele, influence and revenue dipped. To make matters worse Congress enacted the Balanced Budget Amendment Act that changed how reimbursements would be made to small, nonteaching and non-rural hospitals such as Windber. This meant that Windber would have to find a way to be more competitive in order to attract more patients, government funding and funding from other third parties. Diagnosis: What problems was Windber Medical Center facing? According to the report from Ernst and Young, Windber was not making enough money and it faced an imminent demise in five years’ time because of the changes in insurance reimbursements, changes in government reimbursements and heightened competition due to increased penetration of managed care products in the market. Furthermore, Windber was located in an area where the population was migrating out of thus reducing the size of its market. However, the root cause of Windber’s problems was that it operated in an archaic system that saw patients as “disruptions” rather than as customers....
The new president charged with implementing the change made appointments to meet with each employee and members of the medical staff individually. This assessment method was effective because it enabled the president to understand the organization’s culture fully as well as its influence on each employee. A similar tactic with the medical staff was not successful, however out of its failure the president learnt about the hidden, informal power structure. He learnt that there were sixteen physicians who were the nucleus of power among the medical staff. Out of this assessment it was also noted that senior managers who believed in the power of physicians sided with them on every decision. Design: What is the desired state or goal? The ultimate aim of the change effort at Windber Medical Center was to make patient-centered care the organization’s premier priority. To support this goal the organization also committed to providing a loving, nurturing environment to patients and their families as well as to addressing all patient and patient family issues quickly and efficiently. Implementation: What interventions were employed to reach this goal? Four techniques were adopted by management to advance the change effort: training, rewards, dismissals, feedback sessions and media communications. Trainings were done through: (1) peer-to-peer where four employees from different departments were trained offsite and brought back to train their peers; (2) hiring of a management consultant; (3) taking head of departments on tours to learn new models of care; and (4) annual refresher courses. Rewards were given to employees caught caring and this motivated others to do the same. After three years nearly 10 percent of the workforce ...Show more


Windber Medical Center was founded at the height of the coal mining industry in Western Pennsylvania by the Berwind White Coal Company to cater for its workers’ medical needs…
Author : cwunsch
Windber Medical Center
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