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Clarian to restart Riley project, reverse pay cuts

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Within weeks Indianapolis-based Clarian Health will restart work on a new bed tower at Riley Hospital for Children near downtown Indianapolis and the hospital system is set to lift other cost-saving restrictions it adopted 11 months ago. It’s the latest exhalation from a local hospital after massive investment losses and a scary economy forced them to tighten their belts a year ago.

Now, Clarian will resume full pay for its executives (who all took a 10-percent pay cut in 2009), and once again offer tuition reimbursement to its employees.

Clarian also plans to have the first phase of the Simon Family bed tower at Riley completed before the year’s out. The first phase of the 10-story, $475 million inpatient facility was initially supposed to open in June 2009. It is still scheduled to be in full use by 2013.

The Riley project was one of two Clarian halted and has since restarted. It announced last year that it was resuming construction on a $190 million, 44-bed hospital near Fishers.

In all of last year, Clarian saved a bit more than the $225 million it projected in February.

Clarian officials gave credit to the hospital system’s employees for generating additional ideas for saving money. They suggested various ways to do less printing of internal reports, to be more vigilant about turning out lights when not in use, and other items that added up to generate significant impact.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the way our employees responded,” said Ron Stiver, Clarian’s senior vice president for external affairs. He added, “There were so many ideas coming in, that we actually launched, later in the year, a formal [online] process for them.”

Hospitals around the country went into cost-saving mode in late 2008 and early 2009, after they watched the meltdown on Wall Street decimate their investments.

In Indianapolis, however, only one other hospital system put a building project on hold. St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers “paused” work on a 221-bed tower at its campus on the southern edge of Indianapolis but resumed work late last year.

By contrast, Community Health Network plowed ahead with a $130 million expansion of its Community South Hospital, on County Line Road.

In spite of the fears, 2009 turned out pretty well for Clarian, which saw patient visits rise in spite of rising unemployment. Still, Clarian is mixing its regained optimism with a fair dose of caution.

CEO Dan Evans, in a letter to employees announcing the end of the cost-saving measures, wrote, “It is essential that we safeguard the progress we have made while continuing to rebuild our financial reserves that were so depleted by the economic downturn.”

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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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