Wed, Aug. 12

Northern Arizona Healthcare aligns leadership team with new restructuring plan

Northern Arizona Healthcare strives to have the best leadership in place to move the organization forward, not just during this time of unprecedented healthcare changes and opportunities, but also in designing health and wellness models and services for generations to come.

In aligning values with operations at Flagstaff Medical Center, Verde Valley Medical Center and throughout NAH, the healthcare conglomerate recently restructured its leadership team to better focus on efficient patient care and effectiveness of operations. The goals in restructuring were to move resources to those who directly care for patients and create a system leadership structure, promoting seamless and coordinated care for patients.

“Many healthcare systems, nearly 300 across the country, have implemented across-the-board pay cuts, furloughs and layoffs,” said Flo Spyrow, president and CEO. “NAH has taken a targeted approach, looking at leadership, to move resources to the bedside.”

Approximately 20 colleagues were impacted during this process. Dick Sharp, chief human resources officer, said, “The valued colleagues who were affected by this restructure have received offers of severance, outplacement/transition services, and COBRA subsidies.”

In best practice, the plan to restructure leadership had been in place prior to the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic has certainly had a significant impact. Overall, NAH remains strategically focused on strengthening the consistency of services and experience across its multiple locations in Northern Arizona. This will further improve the overall experiences of patients and family members. “This may result in small scale restructuring and position eliminations from time to time, which we have been doing over the past couple years,” says Sharp. Such restructuring is common and operational practice within health systems.

While the financial situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, NAH is continuously working to combat pandemic-related layoffs. The organization has taken significant and proactive steps by prioritizing the reassignment of front line employees with reduced work to other duties; placing a hold on ordering non-medical and non-essential supplies; and reducing merit increases and performance-based incentives. All with the focus on keeping care at the bedside as paramount, and overall ensuring critical care services remain at a high level.

“It is my belief that the healthcare industry will be struggling with the impact of COVID-19 well into 2021,” said Cliff Loader, Northern Arizona Healthcare’s chief financial officer. “Though we’ve received funding through the CARES Act and from the State of Arizona to assist us, which has stabilized our cash in the short term, the situation is ongoing. Even though we are resuming medically necessary procedures on a limited basis, it is at a slow pace. Though we will be able to resume normal operations at some point, it will likely be a ’new normal.’”

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