Hospital restructures benefits, pay to save 2,000 jobs

As budget woes prompt layoffs at various hospitals, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) plans to overhaul its employee benefits and compensation in order to save up to 2,000 jobs, The Tennessean reported.

Starting in July, the Nashville, Tennessee medical center will transfer several hundred managers and administrators to a "variable compensation model" that ties 5 percent of their base salaries to VUMC's 2015 financial performance, according to the article. Employees will also no longer be able to roll over unused vacation time to the next fiscal year.

Last spring,  VUMC announced its "Evolve 2 Excel" strategy in response to a projected $250 million revenue decline over the next two fiscal years. The initiative eliminated more than 1,000 jobs while restructuring others. "Further health system-wide staffing reductions are not planned," VUMC Dean Jeff Balser said in a note to staff last week.

Vanderbilt is not alone in its struggles. Hospitals across the country continue to shed jobs by eliminating positions and not creating new ones, FierceHealthFinance previously reported. 

This week Connecticut-based Hartford HealthCare cut the equivalent of 350 full-time positions, citing lower reimbursements, fewer inpatients and fewer privately-insured patients, according to the Record-Journal. Before the layoffs, the five-hospital health system made $200 million in non-staff cuts, Senior Vice President Lucille Janatka said in a statement.

"In many cases, we have eliminated vacant positions or have already notified employees whose jobs have been affected. Most of those affected who have not yet been notified will be contacted this week," she said, according to the article.

"If we do not reach our financial performance goals, we are in danger of losing access to the capital we need for growth at a time when we face new, for-profit competitors with substantial financial capabilities," Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Flaks added.

Dimensions Healthcare in Maryland will eliminate 62 positions but plans to transfer employees to equivalent positions, the Washington Business Journal reports.

And in Bakersfield, California, Kern Medical Center administrators said Monday they would recommend the closure of the hospital's home health and outpatient physical therapy departments, according to KBAK/KBFX.

To learn more:
- read the Tennessean article
- here's Balser's note to staff
- here's the Record-Journal article
- read the KBAK/KBFX article
- here's the Washington Business Journal report