Interim Medical School Dean Convenes Task Force to Guide Implementation of Furlough Plan

Sam Hawgood, MB, BS, interim dean of the UCSF School of Medicine, has convened a task force to make recommendations and decision about implementing the UC furlough program.

In a message to the campus community on August 5, Hawgood said he asked the task force to adhere to two core principles – to protect the school’s revenue and fulfill its responsibilities for providing high-quality patient care.

Here is Hawgood’s entire message:

Dear Colleagues:

As you know from my last message, we are working on how we will implement the University’s salary reductions and furloughs program as defined by the Regent’s plan. I have created a task force to identify issues, make recommendations and decisions, and guide the implementation.  This task force includes members from the medical center and the Chancellor’s Office; a full list is included below. They have met several times and are developing detailed implementation policies to allow us to be in compliance with the Regent’s plan by Sept. 1, 2009. 

I have asked the task force to adhere to two core principles as they develop detailed implementation policies for the school.

  • The first principle is to maintain, within the constraints of the plan, all revenue from contracts, grants, and clinical activity.  It is vital for the school’s survival to protect all funding we receive from sources other than the state. This money is needed to safeguard our programs and retain our faculty and staff.
  • The second principle is to avoid any disruption of clinical care. Our patients and referring physicians depend on our availability and expertise, and we must not make decisions that jeopardize access to the high quality of care we provide.

The Regents have also recognized these principles by granting exemptions for faculty and staff that are exclusively funded by contracts and grants or staff that are exclusively devoted to clinical activities. We are working in close partnership with the medical center and the UC Office of the President to protect our clinical activities through the medical center’s Alternative Savings Program.  In addition, our San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH) affiliation agreement and contract with the City and County of San Francisco (CCSF) meets the Regent’s principles and requirements. As a result, SFGH faculty and staff who are funded by the CCSF affiliation agreement or professional fees activities will be exempt from the salary reductions and furloughs, proportionate to their funding from these sources.

Faculty in the clinical departments supported by professional income will be subject to the furlough plan, but we are developing policies and a clinical coverage program in consultation with the UC Office of the President that will allow us to reduce furlough days proportionate to clearly documented clinical needs.

Recently, we received notification from the UC Office of the President that faculty and staff who are partially funded by contracts and grants can be exempted proportionately. This much-welcomed decision is consistent with the principle of maximally retaining revenue on the campus. Significant practical and technical issues in the payroll system must be overcome for us to implement this decision by September 1. Updates on the progress towards implementation will be provided as available.

We recognize that following the principles of protecting our revenue and fulfilling our patient care responsibilities with the attendant exemption of some employees, fully or proportionately, has undesirable consequences. Faculty and staff who do not fit these exemptions and are facing the full extent of their tiered salary reduction and furlough days will rightfully feel that the process is not fair. While it would, in fact, be more equitable and fair to reduce everyone’s salary, regardless of activity and funding source, it would cripple our mission and programs through a loss of revenue from non-state sources. In reality, the consequences of these cuts, and especially the furlough days, will affect everyone, and everyone will feel pain as a result. Some work may need to be delayed or deferred. More than ever, we will need to draw on our sense of community and mutual respect and find ways to recognize the valuable contributions of every member of the school.

Our greatest opportunity to limit the negative impact of this plan on our community is to work aggressively and collectively to ensure the Regent’s plan is ended after 12 months by unequivocally demonstrating we can manage our affairs without the imposition of involuntary time or salary reductions.

The Salary Reductions/Furloughs Task Force members have compiled specific questions that have been raised by many of our employees, and have coordinated with the Chancellor’s Office and the other schools on publishing a single UCSF Q&A that answers as many of these questions as we can at this time. This site will be updated as more information becomes available.

I will also continue to provide regular updates and work with you to get us through this challenging issue and time. Once again, I recognize and appreciate your commitment and your hard work on behalf of the school, the patients we care for, the students we educate and train, and the research that will propel us forward.


Sam Hawgood

Members of the Salary Reduction Implementation Task Force:

Sharon Berg, department manager, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology
Maye Chrisman, associate chair, Finance and Administration, Medicine
Donna Ferriero, MD, vice dean, Academic Affairs and Professor of Neurology
Elyse Foster, MD, professor of Clinical Medicine and Chair of the Faculty Council
Cathy Garzio, administrative director, Radiology
Susanne Hildebrand-Zanki, associate director, Diabetes Center
Michael Hindery (Chair), vice dean for Administration, Finance and Clinical Programs
Cynthia Lynch-Leathers, director, Academic Personnel (ex-officio, Chancellor’s Office)
Susan Moore, interim chief financial officer, UCSF Medical Center
David Odato, executive director, Patient and Staff Services, UCSF Medical Center
Sarah Paris, communications manager, School of Medicine Dean’s Office
Richard Secunda, assistant director, School of Medicine Dean’s Office Human Resources
Cathryn Thurow, director, SFGH Dean’s Office
Bruce Wintroub, MD, vice dean, professor and chair, Dermatology
Susan Wright, manager, Compensation and Rewards, Campus Human Resources

Related Links:

UC Regents Declare State of Financial Emergency, Approve Furlough Plan
UCSF Budget website, July 16, 2009-08-05

Interim Dean Reports on Medical School’s Budget Challenges
UCSF Budget website, May 20, 2009-08-05