Hugh Chatham cuts 31 jobs
Officials cite rising costs, loss of revenue
by Anthony Gonzalez Staff Reporter
Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital jolted 31 employees after it announced layoffs to the hospital staff on Tuesday.
According to the hospital, the layoffs are necessary to counter the increased health care costs and lower revenues.
“The reductions will not affect patient care staffing levels, although positions in some clinical departments will be eliminated to reflect reduced volumes,” the statement said.
In the statement and according to newly appointed Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital CEO Paul Hammes, the last several years have been financially challenging for all hospitals across the country, partly because of a very difficult economy and continuing reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements that do not cover the hospital’s cost of providing services to those patients.
About 63 percent of the hospital’s patients are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, said the statement.
Hammes said that lower demand for elective procedures coupled with a significant increase in the level of uncompensated care the hospital provides to uninsured patients, and to those who have limited insurance but often struggle to pay their medical bills, also have contributed to increased costs and lower revenues.
“Combined, these and other factors have created a situation that has placed immense stress on our financial stability,” said Hammes through the release. “This is why today we find ourselves in a position where we must reduce our staff and restructure hospital leadership roles to improve efficiency and better manage our costs.”
The cuts impact about three percent of the hospital workforce of about 940.
“As we move forward, all of us in health care, not just our hospital, will be required to make transformational changes in how we deliver care. In doing so we will make care more affordable, easier to access and build on our strong tradition of excellence in quality and service,” said Hugh Chatham Hospital Board of Trustees Chairman Michael W. Stanley. “Our board of trustees and hospital leadership team will do everything we can to be thoughtful stewards of our organization so we can continue to provide our community with the highest level of quality and compassionate care found anywhere.”
Ahead of the announced layoffs, the hospital has been plagued with struggles to its top position. Four CEOs have served the hospital in an interim, acting, or appointed capacity in 2013.
Hammes was appointed to chief executive officer on Oct. 1.
According to the hospital, affected employees will get severance packages and help with finding other work.
“The hospital has updated its severance and displacement policies to ensure all of these difficult decisions are made objectively and fairly,” Hammes said. “We will do all we can to help where we can.”
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 835-1513 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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