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AOTA finds change is impacting staff therapists
Changes in the rehab industry are definitely affecting the productivity demands on and work habits of many occupational therapists, but to a large extent many are receiving pay increases, according to a November 1998 survey conducted by the Bethesda, MD-based American Occupational Therapy Association. The results of the survey weren’t released until recently.
American Occupational Therapy Association Survey
|Respondents who changed employers:|
|Dissatisfaction with employer||19%|
|*Respondents who did not change:||72%|
*Percentages total more than 100 because some respondents had more than one job.
Of the nearly 1,000 practitioners who responded to a surveyed conducted by the association, close to 50% have enjoyed pay increases during the last 12 months, reports the association in its OT Week publication. However, 22% reported no pay change at all while 18% reported pay decreases. In addition, 14% had their status changed from salary to hourly, a move AOTA says "may be the beginning of a trend." The percentages add up to more than 100 because some respondents had more than one job.
Work environments are changing more than pay structure, the survey reports. "As increased travel, weekend work schedules and occasional overtime become commonplace, many OT practitioners noted the importance of being able to adapt to their employers’ changing needs," AOTA states in its report.
AOTA officials stress, however, that the survey is not a scientific measurement of salary levels because of the informal way it was conducted and the fact that only 1,000 respondents were involved.
At least one consultant says she has seen salary and staffing adjustments at rehab departments at many hospitals with which she works.
"One way or another, people must reduce costs. You can’t pay staff more than you’re getting reimbursed. In most cases, people are not getting reimbursed at last year’s salary levels, unless you’re not seeing much managed care in your market," says Nancy Bleckley, president of Bloomingdale Consulting Group in Valrico, FL.
Many hospitals may still be awarding raises due to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission standards, but they probably are making other adjustments that affect overall personnel expenses, Bleckley says. "One client I have went to the staff and said We need to cut X% in salaries, and we’ve got to figure out a way to do that. They did it by eliminating one full-time employee — the last person hired — and put the other people on hourly rates plus bonuses. Or hospitals may begin to redline salary ranges."