REVIEWER: Sean Riesterer, budget and reimbursement manager for Pacific Health Horizons.

BACKGROUND: In 1990, Salem Hospital was a 454-bed hospital with approximately 100 individual departments including offsite rehabilitation and psychiatric facilities. At that time, the process for budgeting and financial planning was based on individual Lotus spreadsheets combined with a centralized, redundant and largely paper-driven process. Budget consolidation and reporting were particularly difficult and time-consuming. In February 1991, the hospital hired a new budget and reimbursement manager, Kathleen Dowling, and moved quickly to establish better financial planning solutions with the help of SRC Software. Within a month, SRC Software's Budget, Payroll and Reporting software were installed, and a new and vastly improved budget process was developed and under way. Department managers immediately appreciated the wealth of detailed information, and executives and budget staff appreciated the ease of flexibility and consolidated reporting. Since those early days and with the help of SRC Software, the hospital has steadily evolved its budgeting and management reporting to the current distributed set of solutions where, in most cases, paper is optional. This evolution has included a number of migrations from the original DOS-based Lotus platform to the current Windows-based Excel platform. The hospital now has in excess of 170 users accessing their budgets and management reports from multiple locations.

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