Trend: Hospital jobs continue to disappear

While there are some signs that the economy as a whole is beginning to recover, that hasn't shown up for most providers, including hospitals.

Given this, you won't be surprised to hear that hospitals, facing consistently lower patient volume and higher levels of unpaid fees, are still having to slash expenses, including their staff rosters. That's shown up in particular relief over the last week, with hospitals in several parts of the country announcing layoffs, some of them substantial.

For example, the University of Iowa Hospitals, faced with a $45 million budget cut for next year, are planning an unspecified number layoffs as the squeeze continues. Execs are still desperate to reduce costs, despite having already seen top officials take a voluntary 5 percent pay cut.  

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System is eliminating 245 positions, with 164 jobs disappearing completely and another 81 workers being moved into jobs now held by contractors.

In another example, Connecticut's Greenwich Hospital is laying off 77 of its 1,600 employees, struggling with lower reimbursement from both public and private payers.

This may be the tail of the recession, folks. Another possibility, though, is that the layoffs are a delayed wave that is hitting now, even as the economy may be recovering. If that's the case, expect to see a lot more pink slips.

To learn more about this trend:
- read this Wall Street Journal blog item

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