Hospital New System “PEARL” Cutting Jobs at BHB

The Bermuda Hospital Board (BHB) has been accused of commencing a “dog-eat-dog” type scenario among staff at the Island’s lone, full-service hospital, as scavenge for positions in making several available positions.

At the root of staff redundancies is said to be the newly installed PEARL (Patient Electronic & Administrative Records Log), an electronic medical record system that makes patient information, from medical history to the latest physician notes and test results, immediately available to those who are involved in a patient’s care.

However, while a seeming gem for BHB in the area of aiding efficiency, such is presenting as a lump of coal among adversly affected staff. As the fall-out has those wishing to remain employed battling comrades for new or vacant positions, that represent a fraction of the amount being eliminated.

Spoken on the floor of the House of Assembly’s motion to adjoun last week M.P. Derrick  Burgess, stated that he is disturbed to hear the Bermuda Hospital Board would be considering job cuts by June 30th at the facility, with Bermuda coming out of a pandemic and the $160 million dollar grant the Bermuda Goverment give the BHB on an annual basic, this is not a good move.

To add insult to injury a current group of staff members in the Health Information Management Services (HIMS) department at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital told TNN that morale among staff was at a low, with many scrambling to scoop up the few positions on offer, while long-time staff approaching retirement age are considering redundancy packages on offer.

“Everyone is feeling threatened with regard to their jobs, so it’s become a dog eat dog situation, where everyone is competing against each other for the few jobs that are being posted on the in house jobs board,” said the unnamed employees. “What it is, is that medical records – HIMS is what it’s called – is firing everybody and everybody has to look for jobs posted on the BHB jobs board.

“What they want us to do is, if we see anything available on the board, that we like, is to apply for it, but we are still up against other insiders from other internal areas.

“In the HIMS department there are about 17 people, which is combined between King Edward and MWI. There are two management positions, seven regular positions and then you have the coders, one inside one outside and then you have the cutter supervisor.”

The employees intimated that management had originally suggested that no jobs would be lost and that most would be repositioned, but that a recent meeting painted a vastly different picture.

“They told us that we would all have a job,” the staffers continued. “That no one would get fired, after they had introduced PEARL, but then we had this meeting and they told us that everyone was going to be made redundant by June 30th and that we would have to reapply for six position in the HIMS department, this information has all of us are in shock.

“The jobs were for diagnostic scheduler as well as for clerks in the dietary Department.

“To us it looks kind of weird, that they were really trying to get rid of us, when they sent the email telling us which jobs were available.”

Asked how it has been, particularly for the long-term staff that didn’t see this coming, the workers said that many have been, and are being, forced to make some tough decisions.

The workers said: “One is of age and wants to retire and just take their money and go, but she is one of the lead persons and, right now, there’s a lot of pressure on her.

“I’m on the fence, this particular worker stated because I’m considering retirement too, with only a few years to go. “There are three people, there that are around the same age, but the other I believe they will keep, because she’s an analyst. “I believe they will put her in another department, because they need her. The coders will definitely have jobs, as they are required.”

The employees bemoaned the manner in which the hospital was going about effecting their downsizing plans, like it to a kick in the butt. “It is a real kick in the a** they’re doing,” the persons said. “To tell you the truth, We have a jobs and a lot of work to do as far as scanning. The people that are really out of a job are the transcription is’s “They don’t have jobs, because the doctors are doing what they would have to do which is called ‘dragging’.”

The source added how much more money could be saved and jobs preserved if cuts were made nearer the top, in management, where many are earning six-figure, annual salaries.
“They should start at the top, with the management, where they’re all making six figures,”said the workers. “They should get rid of them first. But it seems like, every time they downsize, it’s always the people at the bottom, instead of the people at the top… every time.
“This is not the first time they have done this.

Meanwhile, TNN understands there to be further adverse spill-out, in the form of low morale among staff in other departments, and not just as a result of PEARL, but rather with regard to perceived low wages within the IT department and nursing, with each sector said to be up in arms over there being no percentage increase considered, relative to upward spiraling costs of living.

Said the workers: “It Is like that with us. We should get a raise too. We haven’t had a cost of living raise since well before Covid.”

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