Hospitals preemptively lay off workers to save funds

Hospital jobs are back on the chopping block, as healthcare organizations continue to struggle with escalating costs and shrinking state reimbursements. For instance, adding to an already long list of hospital layoffs in New Hampshire, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) will cut up to 100 jobs during the next two months, reports The Union Leader.

In an attempt to offset a $100 million deficit, the hospital left vacant jobs open and offered early retirement to 735 eligible employees. Only 291 accepted the offer, forcing DHMC to resort to more drastic cost-cutting measures--mass layoffs.

The hospital cited New Hampshire's lowest reimbursement rate in the nation as a driving force of the job cuts. In fact, DHMC was one of nine New Hampshire hospitals that this summer sued the state over lowered reimbursements, arguing that they violated federal rules requiring equal access to medical care for low-income patients.

The hospital said its main concern is providing quality care. "If it is believed the cut would impact patient care, we find another way to make the cut," said hospital spokesman Rick Adams, notes the article.

Similarly in Washington state, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center is cutting jobs to strengthen long-term finances and patient care, the hospital announced earlier this week.

Seventeen non-nursing medical center employees will be laid off while 33 accepted early retirement earlier this year. That, plus a partial hiring freeze and work redesign, will equal the reduction of 81 full-time comparable jobs, the hospital said.

For more information:
- read The Union Leader article
- read the PeaceHealth press release