Hospital layoffs continue to chip away at headcount

Although some hospitals are lucky enough to be in markets where a rise in patient volume is driving hiring at a rapid clip, hospital layoffs continue apace as others plagued with lower patient numbers and/or debt turn to headcount cuts to reduce costs.

Most recently, the Community Hospital of the Monterey (Calif.) Peninsula announced that 57 people would be laid off this week, KSBW reports. The majority of layoffs (75 percent) were non-voluntary, and most of were non-clinical positions, such as shuttle drivers, administrative assistants and nurses and admissions staff.

Across the country in Massachusetts, Cooley Dickinson Hospital in Northampton announced another round of job cuts, The Republican reports. Up to 60 jobs will be cut over the next few months. It would be the fourth time since June 2008 that the facility has cut positions, bring total jobs lost to nearly 200. The hospital is down to about 1,770 employees.

The latest move is driven by financing issues. In order to refinance $50 million it owes in bonds at a better interest rate, the hospital must cut payroll costs, or pay $4.5 million more in interest on its current bonds, spokeswoman Christina Trinchero told The Republican. The $50 million paid for a surgery center that opened in 2007.

To show lenders that it is fiscally sound, Cooley Dickinson must maintain a $5 million reinvestment fund for equipment and facilities. The job cuts will help the hospital meet that goal, Cooley Dickinson President Craig Melin said.

Besides the job cuts, the hospital will not give non-union employees raises, and wants to freeze pay for union employees.

To learn more:
- read the KSBW article
- here's The Republican article

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