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Desperate Hospitals Returns For 2010

Posted Mar 26 2010 10:10am

I did a series last year called “Desperate Hospitals” and now it seems it’s time once again, unfortunately re-open the series again.  Hospitals have fixed costs and have pretty much cut down the the bone where they can.  Some hospitals have been lucky with philanthropy kicking in and helping out with money and others have not.  Sometimes this is the big difference along with how they operate.   I stopped with my last update in March of 2009 and here it is a year later almost exactly and here we go again unfortunately.

I brought back my “poster child” hospital picture here as well, which was Century City Hospital that closed due to lack of funds, which sits right on the outskirts of Beverly Hills and is across the street from many big Fortune 500 companies located in Century City, where the money’s at.   This somewhat relates to a bit of greed I think when it comes to healthcare versus making a buck.  In addition if you do a search you will find many hospitals in Canada also laying off workers.  Please feel free to add more in the comments as I know I didn’t catch all of them.

What’s at the base of a lot of this:  Wall Street Algorithms that smashed economy with “programmed desired financial numbers” shown as justification for trading and investments, while the whole time worked on the back side to create profit centers in areas where they should not have existed. If you read this blog enough you might just come to hating the word algorithm by now, as it is the crux of the matter as that is what displays all the decision making data on the screen that everybody uses and hardly anybody questions as the data is the machine gun and we are still running around with swords.  “Tech denial” and lack of education and the ability to fight back takes your money in a flash and I sure hope we have a Congress that soon will come to terms with this.  BD  

Here’s what is on the web today:

In New York City

NEW YORK—The nation’s largest public hospital system plans to slash its work force—including doctors and nurses—by about 10% over two years as government aid drops and the number of uninsured patients jumps.

With its budget deficit set to top $1 billion, New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corp. plans to eliminate 2,600 jobs in the fiscal year that begins July 1. That comes on top of 1,300 positions to be eliminated this year.

“No hospital system in the country is exempt from the crushing economics facing the health-care industry,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He noted that New York had been early to adopt electronic medical records but said that state budget cuts were hitting the system hard.

In Boston, MA

With the announcement of healthcare reform, it might appear that the private equity firm sees potential here with the promise of new patients coming in the doors soon at Caritas Health Care.   Even though purchased by Cerberus and being non profit status, the six hospitals will retain their Catholic affiliation.  The hospital chain has had to recover from bankruptcy recently and has been on the path of rebuilding.

In Oakland, CA

After running up more than $80 million in losses over the last four years, including $26 million in 2009, Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland said Thursday it must restructure its outpatient services, develop new business opportunities, and negotiate higher private insurance and government reimbursements to cover patient care costs.

The losses have been mounting “at an unsustainable rate,” acknowledged President and CEO Bert Lubin, M.D., who took office last August.

In Rockport, ME

ROCKPORT, Maine — Pen Bay Healthcare laid off 15 more people and eliminated several positions to try to meet the expected $3 million revenue drop for the next fiscal year, starting in April.

A laundry list of departments is affected, including but not limited to surgical practice, urology, neurology, pediatrics, family medicine, human resources, billing and information technology.

In Springfield, MO

A hospital in Springfield is cutting nearly 60 jobs. St John's Hospital told 48 of its employees in the Springfield area that those positions are being eliminated. As further streamlining, nine spots that are currently vacant will not be filled. A spokesperson says these jobs are mostly administrative so no patient-care positions will be affected. They say a regional business office will open in Springfield next month and bring 66 jobs back to the area.

In West Houston, TX

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Hundreds of people are now set to be laid off from a medical center in west Houston. Its operators say they've seen fewer and fewer patients, so they're looking for ways to remain open.

We told you last week that Spring Branch Medical Center was stopping its in-patient services. Now, its operators are taking another step, and we're learning details about the hundreds of layoffs.  The hospital has been on shaky financial footing for years, according to employees with whom we spoke. Officials say the facility has 299 beds and typically only about 80 are filled.

In Chesterfield, MO

Sisters of Mercy Health System this morning announced the elimination of 226 positions across the four-state region it serves as part of a system-wide restructuring.

The layoffs affect 89 leadership positions and 137 "co-worker roles," which represent less than 1% of Mercy's 36,000 employees, said the Chesterfield, MO-based health system, in a media release.

In Scranton, PA

Mercy Tyler Hospital in Tunkhannock announced Thursday it will lay off 18 employees as part of a reorganization plan.

The affected employees, full- and part-time from infection control, pharmacy, laboratory, imaging, EKG, and physician services departments, were notified Thursday morning, said Denise Gieski, hospital president and CEO. The layoffs were expected to be completed by the week’s end.

This is the first time in more than 10 years for layoffs at Tyler, Gieski said.

In Phoenix, AZ

The state's budget cuts also could mean a smaller pool of medical-school graduates likely to practice in Arizona. Arizona has slashed more than $20 million from programs that reimburse hospitals for providing indigent care and training student doctors. Combined with a loss of matching federal dollars, hospitals will lose out on more than $37 million for medical education. Without the money, hospitals may reduce the number of student doctors they teach.

Hospitals also say the Medicaid cuts will result in more expensive premiums for those with private insurance. That's because hospitals will negotiate higher reimbursement rates from private insurers, who in turn will charge their customers more.

In Oconomowoc, WI

OCONOMOWOC, Wis. -- New competition is forcing an Oconomowoc hospital to lay off some workers. ProHealth Care employs 586 people in Oconomowoc.

ProHealth Care said it has cut the jobs of fewer than 3 percent of its workforce at Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital.

Spokeswoman Sandra Peterson said they are experiencing a drop in business following the opening of Aurora Health Care’s new medical center in nearby Summit.

In Miami, FL (The Haiti Heroes)

After two weeks of emergency meetings between hospital, union, and County officials, an agreement was reached on a temporary “stabilization” plan that will cut 655 positions, delay debt payments and exact $30 million in concessions from Jackson Health System workers in Miami-Dade County.

Rolden’s plans turned out to be far more draconian than what she initially reported to the press. Originally, she announced layoffs ranging from 900 to 2,000. The most drastic cut in services, she claimed then, would be the closure of a single emergency room.

In Amarillo, TX

Northwest Texas Healthcare System laid off nine employees and is freezing certain nonvital positions.

Spokeswoman Caytie Martin couldn't specify what positions were affected by the layoffs and hiring freeze. image

"We froze some positions that are not necessary at this time," Martin said.

The hospital system, which announced the changes in a memo to workers last week, employs about 1,900.

In Marshall, MN

MARSHALL - Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center will be closing its Home Health Care service line and laying off 16 employees, hospital officials said Monday. The decision was a financial one, and had nothing to do with the quality or importance of the services provided, said Avera Marshall community relations director Deann Holland.

"The staff has done an excellent job," Dodie Derynck, Avera Marshall vice president, said of home services. "That's part of what makes this so disheartening."

In Honolulu, HI

Some of the hospitals went bankrupt and are now trying to recover.  Hawaii has been a focus of telemedicine more so perhaps than other states and it also stands to represent some potential savings.  The report states in the long run for next year, things are not going to get much better with current economic conditions and people losing their health insurance.

In Bakersfield, CA

San Joaquin General Hospital in Bakersfield is looking at some serious cuts, as noted here in the article, the hospital has been operating in the “red” for many years.  Now they are looking at possibly discontinue their residency program, sad.  I hope I don’t need to revive the “Desperate Hospitals” series again.  We keep hearing about record profits from insurance companies, record profits from pharmacy benefit managers, big profits from drug companies, and big profits from medical device manufacturers, and yet at the level of service, the hospitals and doctors offices the money gets tighter and less are receiving care.

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