IT Doesn’t Pass The Sniff Test

“IT drives standardization of care in the hospital, so it’s pretty critical.” Dr. Steven Ross testifying in EPCH/UMC case August 11, 2015.
We are hearing a lot this week about the IT (Information Technology) service contract between UMC and El Paso Children’s Hospital. UMC was charging El Paso Children’s Hospital for 24.3 FTE’s or $2,059,891 each year( An FTE (Full Time Equivalent) is basically a fancy way of saying ‘% of a person’s time’. So, that means that 100% of 24.3 people’s time was being charged to El Paso Children’s Hospital. If, as we have heard in court, all of the software and hardware is owned and operated by UMC, why did they require 24.3 ADDITIONAL employees just to support the Children’s Hospital? To be clear, these 24.3 people would not be taking care of the software for Children’s because, presumably, UMC already had people on staff to do that. They would not be doing any kind of programming because, again, presumably UMC already had people on staff to do that. So, what were these 24.3 people spending 100% of their time on? Apparently, not what they needed to because the report stated that “EPCH lab and radiology personnel are performing many of the tasks assigned to the UMC personnel.” This leads us to ask some interesting questions:
1. Were additional people hired at UMC specifically to support El Paso Children’s Hospital or did UMC just use existing personnel and ‘double-dip’ by having them work on UMC projects AND charge 100% of their time to EPCH?
2. Remember when UMC layed off 56 employees last year and claimed it was because of the Children’s Hospital? “The employees worked in administration, compliance, decision support services, emergency, engineering, enrollment services, environmental services, food services, the gift shop, guest services, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, laundry, medical staff services, occupational health, public affairs, and training management, he said.” (emphasis added). (…/el-pasos-umc-lays-off-mor…/). How many of those IT people that were layed off were 100% dedicated to El Paso Children’s Hospital and did UMC continue to bill EPCH for them even though they were no longer there? Phantom People = Phantom money
3. Finally, how large is the IT department at UMC? If they required 24.3 full time people to run just the Children’s Hospital portion of it, how many full time employees do they budget for themselves? If we were to add the 2 numbers together would it equal the number of IT employees actually employed by UMC?

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