Hospitals blame health reform, low reimbursement for layoffs

Health reform is here to stay, which might not good news for hospital employment. Several hospitals across the country are citing the legislation and its implementation as reasons for cutting jobs.

With reform at the federal level tying Medicare reimbursement to patient outcomes and quality measures, South Central Kansas Medical Center is cutting nine workers, The Wichita Eagle reported. The reform law's survival also influenced Greenwood County Hospital decision to lay off 16 employees.

"I think (health reform) plays into everybody's decision making … it's a dramatic change in how organizations do things, how they're paid, the number of people who now have some form of insurance that didn't before," said John Rossfeld, interim CEO of Newman Regional Health in Emporia, Kan., which recently cut its workforce by 18 people.

In New York, Adirondack Health is cutting 17 jobs, leaving another eight positions vacant, freezing management salaries for 2013 and outsourcing its medical transcription services, thanks to shrinking federal and state reimbursements, according to North Country Public Radio.

Nearby Claxton Hepburn Medical Center is laying off six people after eliminating a total of nine positions, while Glens Falls Hospital is eliminating 29 positions and shifting five other employees to part-time.

"The models of yesterday are not the models of tomorrow for delivering healthcare," Adirondack Health President and CEO Chandler Ralph told North Country Public Radio. "It's all good, the direction we're going in, keeping people at home and not being readmitted to the hospital, but that has a definite effect on the volume going forward, and whenever you reduce volume, you have to reduce staff accordingly."

The healthcare industry is on track to see 124 mass layoffs that will affect about 8,700 people by the end of the year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For more:
- here's the North Country Public Radio piece
- read the Wichita Eagle article