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Understanding and using budgets to effectively manage resources are critical, especially given the driving economic forces and constraints and the relentless focus on cost-effectiveness and quality care by healthcare organizations. The budget needs to be a tool that managers use to act.

For this to be possible, reports are necessary. Reports provide nurse managers with extremely valuable information. With reports, you can track patterns and trends and perform variance analyses. Armed with this information, you can take necessary corrective measures to improve performance in upcoming budget cycles.

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Reports must be viewed in a timely manner to be effective.

Types of Budget Reports

There are many types of budget reports—some reports generated annually, some monthly, and some biweekly.

Annual reports in a healthcare organization might include the following:

  • Personnel budget worksheet: This worksheet lists personnel budget expense items. It is used by nurse managers.

  • Supply and expense budget worksheet: This worksheet lists supplies and related expenses. It is used by nurse managers.

  • Budget distribution report: This report is distributed to responsibility center managers.

Monthly reports in a healthcare organization might include the following:

  • Actual to budget comparison: This report compares actual expenses during the specified time period with budgeted expenses.

  • Cost distribution: This report reveals the cost distribution, also known as the distribution cost. This can be defined generically as costs distributed across a product line in healthcare—for example, an orthopedic product line. Another way to view it is the total cost for goods or services, including money, time, and labor.

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In healthcare, you can look at cost distribution over a lifetime. For example, data demonstrates that after the first year of life, healthcare costs are lowest for children, rise slowly throughout adult life, and increase significantly after the age of 50. Human resources (HR) managers also distribute the cost of employees, which includes salary costs, health insurance costs, benefit costs, tuition reimbursement costs, and so on.

  • Inventory monthly distribution: This is a monthly distribution report for inventory. This report is used to control inventory.

  • Payroll position control listing: This report lists what employee positions have been filled and what vacancies exist. The HR department and nursing managers use this report to avoid hiring too much staff—that is, to not hire staff when all positions have already been filled.

Biweekly reports in a healthcare organization might include the following:

  • Detailed departmental summary: This report summarizes activities for a given period for a nursing unit or department.

  • Employees not working authorized hours: This report lists employees who did not work scheduled hours—for example, if an employee is on vacation, medical leave, or family medical leave of absence.

In addition to these are reports that pertain specifically to staffing. These are ...

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