2003 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
IMPACT OF A NEW POLICY LINKING VACATION PREFERENCE TO CALL-IN FREQUENCY ON THE UTILIZATION OF UNSCHEDULED PAID TIME OFF IN A RESPIRATORY CARE DEPARTMENT
John Burkhart, R.R.T., M.B.A., James K. Stoller, M.D., M.S., FAARC. The Cleveland
Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio
Background: Because respiratory therapists' using unscheduled time off can threaten reliable staffing and can erode morale when colleagues are called upon to provide extra time and care, eliminating all discretionary use of unscheduled time off is desirable. In the context that use of unscheduled paid time off (UPTO) was high in our Section of Respiratory Therapy, we implemented a new policy which afforded higher priority for vacation preference to individuals with lower use of UPTO. The current study was undertaken to assess the impact of this new policy on utilization of UPTO in the Section of Respiratory Therapy at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
Methods: Baseline information regarding the use of UPTO was collected between January 1, 2002 and June 30, 2002 and was compared to UPTO utilization between January 1, 2003 and June 30, 2003, 6 months after implementing the new policy. The new policy allocated vacation priority to therapists with the highest number of points, where points were accrued for lower utilization of UPTO. Specifically, an employee began each year with a point total equal to 100 plus 2 points for each year of service. For each hour of UPTO the employee used, 1 point was deducted from their total. Additionally, deductions were made for hours of absence without proper notice multiplied by a factor of 1.5. Hours of absence without calling (no call/no show) were multiplied by a factor of 2.
As per usual practice, every effort was made to grant an employee's vacation request consistent with the operational requirements of the Section. However, when first choices
could not be accommodated because of competing requests, this point system was used to allocate vacation, with the most points given preference. In instances of equal points, seniority prevailed in determining vacation.
RESULTS: During the first 6 months of 2002, the section experienced 1388 hours of UPTO, or approximately 1.3 full time equivalents (FTEs) of UPTO. During the same 6-month period of 2003, we experienced 1565 hours or 1.5 FTEs of UPTO. Comparing only those employees who worked either full-time or part-time during both periods, we observed that in 2002, those employees (63.5 FTEs) used 1,218 hours of UPTO or (19.1 UPTO hours per FTE). During 2003, those same employees (62 FTEs, due to some changes in employment status) used 1,353 UPTO hours (21.8 hours per FTE).
CONCLUSION: We conclude that to date, implementing a new policy which affords higher priority for vacation preference to individuals with lower use of unscheduled paid time off (UPTO) has not been effective in reducing the number of UPTO hours used in our Respiratory Therapy Section. Additional strategies may include revising the point assignment to incent less UPTO and/or further polling the staff to learn what other drivers may impact UPTO use.