Skip to comments.Med center layoffs may be harbinger [Obamacare]
Posted on 10/31/2012 8:50:28 AM PDT by Vince Ferrer
Hospitals across Nebraska are looking to reduce costs to respond to cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates, a hospital group said Tuesday after the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha announced job cuts.
Thirty-eight employees at the Nebraska Medical Center will lose their jobs by the end of the year, and 100 open positions will remain unfilled, med center officials announced Tuesday.
No nursing positions will be eliminated, officials said, and patient care will not be affected.
Among the positions slated for elimination are one vice president and three other directors. One of those people was already planning to leave for another job, said Glenn Fosdick, the med center's president and CEO.
Fosdick said he didn't want to identify all of the positions affected until everyone had been notified. The bottom line, he said, is we're not going to compromise our patient care.
The hospital has about 5,200 employees.
Reimbursement rates for Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people age 65 or older, have been targeted under federal health care reform. It's possible that the rates will be further reduced Jan. 1 when automatic spending cuts are scheduled to go into effect. Couple that with ongoing federal deficit-reduction discussions, and hospital officials recognize the need to look hard at controlling costs, said Adrian Sanchez, a spokesman for the Nebraska Hospital Association.
Hospitals and health care providers typically operate on such thin margins, he said. Adjustments to Medicare reimbursement payments will have a significant impact to their bottom line.
But job cuts, Sanchez said, are a last resort.
Fosdick said he had not made job cuts of any significance at the med center in more than 10 years. We could have done it without telling anybody, but we believe in being transparent with our employees, he said.
A few staff members will see their hours reduced, hospital spokesman Paul Baltes said. People affected will be notified over the next week to 10 days, and administrators will try to place them in spots within the system and among partner organizations.
We're committed to helping them, Fosdick said.
The hospital has been working for years on reducing costs, he said. If we don't do these things now, in a couple years it will get really, really challenging.
John Fraser, president and CEO of Methodist Health System, said Methodist also is reducing costs, both salary and nonsalary, for the same reasons as those cited by the med center. Our goal is to gradually but steadily achieve these reductions through attrition, he said.
A spokeswoman for Alegent Creighton Health said officials would have no comment.
A hospital laying off people in the current environment isn't surprising, said Alwyn Cassil, a spokeswoman for the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Studying Health System Change.
In general, hospitals are turning their attention to holding down their cost growth, Cassil said. It's bad news for those individuals who are going to lose their jobs, but generally, hospitals should be working at holding their costs down. That will translate to less impact on people's (insurance) premiums over the long term.
Hospitals' major expense is staffing, Cassil said.
If hospitals are going to hold down costs, she said, it's always a given that personnel are part of that equation. The reduction in the growth of Medicare spending mandated in the Budget Control Act that Congress passed last year could cut more than 496,000 jobs nationwide in 2013, according to an analysis conducted this summer by the consulting firm Tripp Umbach. That number includes workers directly employed by the health care sector as well as those who work in related businesses.
The consultants estimated that of the total, more than 2,900 jobs in Nebraska and nearly 5,500 jobs in Iowa would be lost.
It is important to note, the consultants said, that the slowed spending won't affect the benefits received by people enrolled in Medicare. It instead will come about by reducing payments for health care services.
Then... when the positions are re-filled later, there will be 3 or 4 idiot, government civil servants hired to take the place of what USED to be done by ONE qualified and efficient employee, BEFORE Obamacare!
I just can't wait for the hostility, inconvenience and attitude!!!
They could close the kitchens and put a microwave in every room to nuke TV dinners. The food wouldn’t be any worse. ;-)
Gee . . . I wonder who all of these layed off folks are going to vote for . . . ? ? ?
“It is important to note, the consultants said, that the slowed spending won’t affect the benefits received by people enrolled in Medicare”
Yeah right. Even small cuts make a big difference when profit margins are small. High risk Medicare patients are going to be treated like lepers. Just wait, the so-called consultants, in the name of patient safety, will be busy figuring out ways to deny expensive drugs and compex procedures to Medicare patients.
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