I had worked “weekend option” for five years before leaving the main hospital and going to the one in Carmel. People in a weekend option position get paid an extra 12 hours for agreeing to work every weekend. For example, I worked Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and got paid for “four nights” of work because I worked every weekend. This arrangement is called by some “the golden handcuffs” because it’s a lot of money, but you feel like you can’t leave and work someplace else because any change you make is a pay cut. I worked weekend option until the fall of 2010, and in the fall of 2011 I moved to Carmel on day shift.
In the fall of 2012 I started my master’s program at the University of Indianapolis. One thing they told me in the initial interview was that it would be a good thing if I could get a weekend option position since the clinical schedule in the second year can get hairy. And so I asked my boss if I could get into one of these positions. She said there were none available, but she would see what we could do. Several months ago she told me that it had moved from a possibility to a probability. She just had to get the position approved, and things were moving in that direction. It looked like I would be weekend option again sometime this spring/summer.
And then last week happened. Hospitals have been hurting financially due to several provisions in Obamacare regarding Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement (and other things which are too complicated for me to go over here). One provision is that if you readmit a patient for any reason within 30 days of their discharge, you get financially penalized for that second admission. This article from last fall shows this is happening already. So hospitals are having to adjust their sails, so to speak. My hospital announced last week that, effective sometime in July, weekend option is no more.
This means several things to me. First of all, it means that I will probably have to work more weekends since the people who worked every weekend will not be working every weekend anymore (why would they?). Secondly, this means my pay is not going to increase like I thought it would. We’re talking approximately $1500 extra net pay per month. I was planning to pay off some debts by the end of the year, replace the carpet in my house so we can sell it, and take a nice family vacation. I was also hoping that by the time my clinical rotations start in January of 2014 I could drop the third day, and simply work every Friday and Saturday night, and have the rest of the week off for school.
So now I must adjust MY sails. How tacky.