UI Hospitals and Clinics announces a $2.5 million market adjustment to benefit staff

In order to remain competitive in the market, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics will allocate $2.5 million worth of market adjustments to support and retain staff.


Katina Zentz

CEO of UI Hospitals and Clinics Suresh Gunasekaran poses for a portrait on Thursday, October 24, 2019.

Alexandra Skores, News Editor

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics staff will come home with a little more cash in their bank accounts this holiday season. The hospital announced it will distribute $2.5 million worth of market adjustments to its staff this November.

UI Hospitals and Clinics CEO Suresh Gunasekaran said the market adjustments will be distributed to a select 2,700 staff members within nursing, medical-lab scientists, social workers, and specialized-imaging technologists from the hospital’s budget.

“Usually we give salary adjustments once a year,” Gunasekaran said. “We thought it was really important to stay responsive and stay competitive in the market to go ahead and do it midyear.”

Gunasekaran said the staff members receiving the raises will still get their annual raises at the end of the year and will see it in their December paychecks. Staff members were chosen from these areas specifically because they are from fields that competitor hospitals are paying at higher rates.

“It’s important that as we get busier at the hospital we take care of the staff we have,” Gunasekaran said. “It’s not always possible for us to compensate at market levels because other businesses have other models. Our model is to be a public service, so that doesn’t always allow us to be market competitive, but we are [currently] sufficient financially and we thought it would be important to do this now.”

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In an attempt to understand that its current market is quite competitive, Gunasekaran said the move is a response to the market. He also said UIHC wants to make sure its staff feels appreciated.

“Being able to do this means that the team can know that we have a better chance of filling positions — open positions,” he said.

Gunasekaran said the market analysis of UIHC includes looking at the skills and demands that are needed to be more competitive while growing.

“The first thing is to keep the staff that you have,” he said. “The second thing is to be competitive for others that are trying to decide where they want to work. We know compensation is one component of it. There are other components than that — how much you find the work meaningful, how much you like working with your colleagues, the location.”

UI Health Care strives to take care of their employees and make sure they have a great work environment, Gunasekaran said.

“Every employee is valued for their important contribution to the mission,” Gunasekaran said in a statement. “While we are able to provide midyear adjustments only for part of our workforce at this time, we will continue our ongoing review of job classifications for competitiveness.”

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UIHC Associate Chief Nurse Executive Emily Ward said that she is excited to be able to provide the market adjustment to so many within the staff.

“We have the competitive edge to not only attract, but also hire and retain experienced nurses into our organization,” Ward said. “I think by implementing these market adjustments we are going to be able to accomplish just that.”

Ward stressed the importance of remaining competitive in the industry and comparing pay practices at Iowa to all academic medical centers.

“Our teams are caring for some of the sickest patients in the Midwest, and it’s really important that our pay practices are competitive enough to attract and retain highly skilled staff that are central for us to be successful,” she said.