Hospital cuts jobs and hours to stay afloat

EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) – The city’s hospital that serves several surrounding counties is making deep cuts in order to save $1 million per year. Newman Regional Health made the announcement in a press release today. The job cuts, elimination of positions, and reduction of hours comes after a recent productivity study that led them to slash staff related expenses by 5%. The hospital is projected to lose $3.5 million from operations this year. It’s a financial trend Newman has seen over the past several years.

Ten full time and five part time employees at the hospital will be laid off permanently. Another five full time and seven part time vacancies that occurred this month will not be replaced; instead those duties will be permanently reassigned to other staff members. In addition to the job cuts, 29 employees at Newman Medical Partners will work 36 hours per week instead of their current 40 starting tomorrow. The hospital says the change will better match staffing levels with patient volume.

Newman Regional Health is providing a severance package and assistance in finding new jobs for employees affected by the cuts.

CEO Bob Wright addressed concerns community members might have concerning patient care: “Making sure these reductions did not negatively impact patient care was our primary focus as we looked at this challenge.”

Newman’s Director of Patient Care, Julia Pyle, echoed his words. “We were able to maintain existing hospital nurse to patient staffing ratios while taking advantage of recent turnover to achieve our required savings in those areas.”

The hospital claims they have aggressively made changes to improve their bottom line, including the implementation of cardiac catheterization services last year, the hospital’s application for Medicare Critical Access status, and the expansion of Newman Medical Partners. However, while patient volume is more stable, the hospital blames declines in Medicare patients and increases in Medicaid patients for the bulk of the $800,000 loss of revenue in the first two months of this year. Medicare is the hospital’s largest and best source of revenue, however there have been fewer Medicare patients. Meanwhile, Medicaid patients have grown at a cost to Newman. Medicaid pays most hospitals only 60% of the actual costs of care provided, according to the news release. That’s a loss to the hospital. Newman Regional also anticipates negative financial implications from the Affordable Care Act’s implementation.

In the end, administrators insists that the health system must make more than they spend in the long term, and the cuts are necessary to present them with a better opportunity for profitability in the future.

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