Lower reimbursements, patient admissions lead to hospital job cuts

MetroWest Medical Center is cutting staff by 50 positions, CEO Andrei Soran told the Worcester Business Journal.

Thirty of the positions cut will involve layoffs. The other 20 jobs will be cut via attrition and by not filling vacancies. The cuts will not affect doctors or nurses among the 2,500 workers at Framingham (Mass.) Union Hospital or Leonard Morse Hospital in Natick.

Lower reimbursements and lower patient admissions forced officials to cut costs, Soran said. He did not provide numbers.

Although Massachusetts requires all residents to carry health insurance, that rule hasn't translated into more people using hospital services, said Soran, who believes higher deductibles and copays have driven use down. MetroWest's marketing ploy to drive more ER patients to the system's ERs with a wait time text messaging service apparently didn't lure enough patients to avoid cuts, either.

Soran does not expect hospital admissions to return to pre-recession levels if the economy recovers. One trend that he cited that would not work in MetroWest's favor is the push for patients to take more responsibility for their healthcare.

Despite the cuts, Soran is optimistic. MetroWest recently signed an expanded partnership with Tufts Medical Center so that the two hospital systems can share services and refer patients between the two organizations. The move also will allow MetroWest doctors to join the Tufts physician care organization. Tufts and MetroWest officials are looking into creating an accountable care organization.

To learn more:
- read the Worcester Business Journal article

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