Hospital and health systems' dire finances are spurring layoffs—here are 35 examples from 2022

Updated on Nov. 21 at 11:00 a.m.

The hospital and health system landscape in 2022 is dominated by warnings of major financial losses, often attributed in part to the rising costs of labor.

A nursing shortage and the winter’s omicron surge forced many provider organizations to turn to contract workers demanding rates far beyond those seen prior to the pandemic.

Systems say those prices are stabilizing with each passing month. However, many hospitals’ depleted budgets are now having to contend with economywide wage and supply cost increases at a time when high-profit volumes (such as surgeries) are still recovering from pandemic disruptions.

Reports from Kaufman Hall and Fitch Ratings warn that hospitals’ dire finances and labor supply struggles will at least continue through the end of the year, if not longer.

The result is seemingly contrary to industry trends: a ramp-up of workforce recruitment and retention investments countered by service limitations and layoffs hospitals say are needed to keep the lights on.

A number of health systems including big names such as Providence are on both ends of that spectrum, trimming down administrative or leadership positions as they work to plug holes among their clinical workforces.

And while several layoffs were the result of full facility closures, several were accompanied by promises to help former employees transition to other unfilled and much-needed roles within the organization.

Read on below for a running roundup of 35 layoff announcements, news reports and regulatory filings from hospitals and health systems during 2022 (and be sure to check out the latest on layoffs hitting biotech and digital health).

Adventist Health said in early August that it had cut 52 positions at its Roseville, California, headquarters within the past month. The 23-hospital system said directors, managers and staffing coordinators were included in the layoffs and that they were welcome to apply to one of 2,000 open positions across the organization.

Albany Medical Center informed staff of a “painful” restructure eliminating 37 positions. The restructure is primarily among management and nonclinical roles, leadership wrote in a Sept. 14 letter (PDF) to staff, and all layoffs will be provided a severance package and career placement assistance. The medical center has seen $66 million in year-to-date operating losses.

Ascension St. Vincent Dunn in Indiana will close on Dec. 16 after parent company Ascension was unable to find a buyer for the critical access hospital and nine other medical practices. The hospital shutdown will come with layoffs for 76 hospital employees as well as 56 workers across the practices, according to a letter to Indiana's Department of Workforce Development. Ascension will be offering severance and outplacement services to those who don't enter another position within the system.

BHSH System said Sept. 9 that it had made the “difficult decision” to cut 400 of its 64,000-person workforce. The organization cited inflation and the end of COVID-19 relief payments as reasons for the cuts while noting it had recruited roughly 10,000 since the top of the year to open roles.

Blessing Health System shut down its 49-bed hospital in Keokuk, Iowa, on Sept. 30. The decision will impact 151 workers, many of whom will be doing on-site work or be placed on administrative leave until the layoffs go into effect on Nov. 4. The hospital had been acquired in March 2021 from UnityPoint Health, whom the system noted had also had troubles running a profit. 

Bozeman Health Deaconess trimmed 28 leadership and leadership support staff positions in early August and closed an additional 25 job openings. The 2,400-person system cited pandemic economic strains in a letter to staff.

Bristol Hospital laid off 10 managers, cut 21 job vacancies and saw executives take a voluntary 8% pay cut for the year. The June reductions did not affect any of the Connecticut community hospital’s medical staff or patient services employees and will save $3.9 million. The broader Bristol Health system has roughly 1,750 employees and reported a $13.9 million operating loss for 2021.

Cape Fear Valley Health saw two rounds of layoffs across its locations in October. The North Carolina system's Harnett Health eliminated 56 positions early in the month, 26 of which were full time. It later informed Cape Fear Valley Health employees of 200 position eliminations, 42 of which were currently filled by employees in "non-direct patient care positions." The system's CEO attributed cuts at both locations to "unexpected expenses and revenue challenges" and said outplacement services were being offered to those affected. 

Commonwealth Health is closing its First Hospital psychiatric center and other outpatient locations at the end of October and, with it, expects to lay off 245 employees. The system is part of the hospital chain Community Health Systems.

East Carolina University Health is laying off 61 employees following the summer closure of its COVID-19 testing sites. The system said cuts were set to begin Sept. 23 and that those affected would receive support if interested in applying to other open positions.

Garnet Health (PDF) filed a notice with New York that the Nov. 9 closure of five outpatient sites would bring 29 layoffs. The system employs more than 3,300 people and 850 medical staff members across its three hospitals and other facilities.

Lake City Community Hospital told South Carolina 222 of its employees will be impacted by the end-of-year closure of its facility. The hospital and Williamsburg Regional Hospital are both reportedly shutting down and transferring their services to the soon-to-be-completed MUSC Black River Medical Center, which will be located in between the two locations and host new care capabilities.

Memorial Hospital at Gulfport laid off its vice president of system development and chief medical officer in April. The moves were driven by both financial challenges and an interest to return the hospital to an organizational structure preceding the executives’ appointments. The 328-bed facility had no other layoff plans.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is tackling financial challenges with plans to cut about 3% of its workforce in mid-January, according to a mid-November report. It is the largest private cancer center and employs more than 20,000 people, according to the organization's website. 

Moses Taylor Hospital informed the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry that its upcoming merger with the Regional Hospital of Scranton would result in 29 layoffs. These employees work out of its acute care facility and are expected to be laid off on Dec. 2. Some of the affected employees are represented by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, according to the hospital's letter to the department, and no "bumping rights" are being applied.

Noble Health’s spring furlough of 181 employees across its Audrain Community Hospital and Callaway Community Hospital looks to be permanent as the hospitals’ new owner, Platinum Team Management, has been unable to reopen the facilities. The organization had until Missouri regulators’ Sept. 21 deadline to find investors and reopen the two community hospitals and has recently submitted a request to the state for more time.

NorthBay Health announced a workforce reduction of roughly 7% of its full-time equivalents in July. The news followed retirements and voluntary departures and affected departments across the 2,700-employee system. The hardest hit were senior management positions, which saw a 20% reduction. Those laid off received severance packages and job hunt assistance. The California system had recently announced the temporary closure of one of its two urgent care centers due to staffing issues.

OhioHealth kicked off its largest-ever wave of layoffs in July, sharing plans to cut 637 jobs over the course of months. Of those, 567 worked in information technology roles and will remain on the payroll until Jan. 3. The remainder were from the revenue cycle department and will be officially laid off Nov. 4. OhioHealth said the layoffs weren’t driven by cost savings but that the system intends to hand off both functions to third-party vendors that will improve patient experience and care. OhioHealth employs roughly 30,000 people.

Penn Highlands Connellsville Hospital said in July that a workforce restructuring of 47 roles would come with 27 layoffs and 20 eliminations through retirement and attrition. No bedside clinical nurses were affected by the restructuring. The hospital had joined Penn Highlands Healthcare System on April 1 and saw a $16.5 million loss over the previous five years.

ProMedica disclosed in quarterly earnings roughly 150 layoffs among its nonclinical staff. The Toledo, Ohio-based system has seen a $281 million operating loss during the first half of 2022 and alongside the July layoffs has fired several members of its leadership.

Providence announced a reorganization in July targeting a “leaner” operating model with fewer executives and larger regional divisions. The system—which logged a $714 million operating deficit in 2021 and a $934 million operating loss during the first six months of 2022—did not specify how many leadership roles were eliminated but noted that it will continue aggressively recruiting to fill clinical vacancies.

Regional Hospital of Scranton informed the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry that its upcoming merger with Moses Taylor Hospital would result in 8 layoffs among employees working out of its acute care facility. Some of the affected employees are represented by SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, according to the hospital's letter to the department, and no "bumping rights" are being applied.

Sanford Health laid off an undisclosed number of layoffs among leadership and administrative staff. In a letter to employees, CEO Bill Gassen said the decision was made to cut down administrative expenses and that the decision to "streamline our leadership structure and simplify operations" were largely in non-clinical areas and "will not adversely impact patient or resident care in any way." He also noted that the system is currently hiring for over 6,000 positions, "mainly in patient-facing roles." 

Shriners Hospital for Children laid off 38 in April and another 20 at the end of September as it prepares to close a facility operating on the University of South Florida’s campus.

Sparrow Health System will be laying off "hundreds" of roles across the organization. A spokesperson told media in late September that the job reductions will primarily target leadership and non-patient care positions, but that some clinic jobs—union nurses included—would be affected in low patient volume areas. The system has lost $90 million across the first six months of 2022.

St. Charles Health System announced 105 layoffs and the elimination of 76 vacant positions in May. The organization’s CEO pointed to expense increases, reduced surgery volumes and relief paybacks that will see St. Charles “likely end 2022 in the red” and said the reductions were necessary “to ensure the long-term financial stability of the health system.” That CEO resigned in the following months and was followed out the door by St. Charles’ executive vice president and chief physician executive, whose roles were eliminated to cut costs.

St. Vincent Charity Medical Center said in a Sept. 14 notice it was transitioning from an acute care hospital to an ambulatory health services center, eliminating 978 positions effective Nov. 15. Nearly half of those were full-time employees with the remainder a mix of part-time and as-needed workers.

Tower Health laid off 52 of its corporate staff to save $15 million per year. The cuts represent about 13% of its coprorate management team of 400 and less than half a percent of the 12,000 people it employed at the midyear mark. The Pennsylvania-based system is also in the midst of downsizing from six hospitals to four.

Trinity Health shut down its West Springfield, Massachusetts-based Trinity Health at Home, a home care and hospice agency. With the closure came 60 layoffs that were set to go into effect Sept. 5.

Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic closed its Mercy Senior Health Center in West Philadelphia due to rising costs. Fourteen people were laid off, according to a notice with the state, although a spokesperson told the press that the system would work to find homes for those employees elsewhere in the system.

Trinity Health of New England’s Mercy Medical Center said in May that it had laid off 12 of its 380 nurses as well as a number of ancillary staff such as secretaries and interpreters. A spokesperson told the press the downturn was due to pandemic disruption of traditional demand and noted that the hospital was also eliminating other positions that were currently vacant.

UNC Health Rockingham filed a notice in late August that it would lay off 67 of its 749 employees effective Oct. 31 with the end of two vendor contracts for food and environmental services. It plans to switch to a single new vendor, Sodexo, for its next contract and said that all employees would have an opportunity to continue with them.

University Hospitals is cutting 326 vacant roles and laying off 117 administrative employees. The Cleveland-based system said in a release that these job eliminations and other reduction efforts will yield a $100 million decrease in expenses.  All employees who were laid off did not provide direct patient care and will receive severance.

Yale New Haven Health laid off 72 junior and senior management employees in September and cut another 83 vacant positions. Those cut were encouraged to apply for other jobs at the seven-hospital system, which employs roughly 30,000 people and expects to lose $300 million by the end of its fiscal year.