HTS Transition Planning Director Melanie Viquez is back with our 3 Questions series, this time, to talk about transition budget, a critical component of a successful healthcare facility activation. Developing a sound transition budget helps manage the costs of transition planning activities and keeps facilities on-track. Learn more…
Q1. How do you build your facility’s budget?
The development of a thorough and comprehensive transition budget is a critical component of a successful healthcare facility activation plan.
Step 1: Identify the departments that will be impacted by the Transition. In order to determine the specific resources required by each department and properly estimate the total support needed to activate the facility, project teams must assess how each department will be impacted by the transition.
Step 2: Identify staff (by role – RN, MD, Tech, etc.) who will be involved in the Transition process including meetings, simulations, training, and move. These budgets are based on headcount, unlike an operating budget that is based on FTE. An accurate count of staff by each position level within each department is best.
Step 3: Determine what is already covered in other budgets, i.e., Construction, Project, Equipment, etc. Before soliciting resource requirements from department heads or obtaining quotes for third-party services, it is critical to understand what, if any, has already been allocated in one of the project’s budgets or in the hospital’s projected operating and capital budgets.
Step 4: Estimate the expected training hours required for each position type for all departments This estimate, based on an understanding of the new systems, equipment, and technology in the new facility will impact staff workflows and require training and testing. If this information is not yet known, work with your Transition Planner to establish baseline assumptions.
Step 5: Set up a dedicated transition cost center to keep track of the costs specific to transition. This takes place primarily in the 6-9 months prior to go-live. Establish a temporary cost center to support one-time activities related to the activation of a new facility without interfering with a hospital’s productivity figures.
Q2. In your experience, what is often overlooked in the transition planning budget?
The level and amount of staff involvement is often overlooked. Most projects, if not all, require some level of staff participation, from workflow through move day. Do not underestimate the time staff needs to be trained and oriented in the new building nor the backfill requirements to support ongoing operations during the activation phase of the project. Pencil in an increase commitment by IT, EVS, Supply Chain and other additional staff (or third-party vendors) who will support the work associated with outfitting the building.
Q3. What strategies do you employ to contain your costs during the transition and activation?
Work with your team to anticipate as many transition-related costs well before Transition Planning. Tag them appropriately as Transition versus Operational costs in order to minimize variances. Assign exempt staff to team leadership roles to support the outfitting activities and as SuperUsers for department training development and implementation. Lastly, consider out-of-the-box strategies such as capitalizing salary costs incurred during the construction or the activation period. This can occur if the costs are directly attributed to the one-time expenses of transition activities.