Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ObamaCare is Coming and Hospitals are Laying Off Workers? No Way! Way!

“That busy health care industry to-do list ahead of ObamaCare includes an increasing number of hospital job cuts. Since the start of May, hospital groups have announced plans to lay off nearly 6,000 workers. Add in several thousand additional positions seeing fewer hours or cuts through attrition and buyouts, and the work reductions impact more than 9,000 jobs.

An IBD review found layoff and workforce reduction announcements covering 75 hospital groups in 33 states and the District of Columbia.

While hospital layoffs are much more common in recent years, what is notable is how widespread they've become, impacting even firms that have never before resorted to job cuts. Even more striking is the sudden change in patient behavior and rapid deterioration in hospital finances.

Baystate Franklin Medical Center, in Massachusetts, which is cutting up to nine nurses on its surgical staff, noted that the average hospital stay for its patients has fallen from 3.4 days in 2012 to 2.4 days this year.

Jordan Hospital, also in Massachusetts, is cutting 43 positions partly as a response to a 9% decline in inpatient admissions.

Cone Health of North Carolina, which earned $100 million in 2010, was reportedly $11 million in the red through eight months of its fiscal year. As a result, the hospital group is laying off 150 employees.

Baptist Health of Arkansas, which this week said it will lay off 170, nearly 2.5% of its workforce, listed the array of challenges forcing hospitals to find efficiencies wherever they can: "substantially less government reimbursement, burdensome government regulations, rapidly rising costs of supplies, increasing charity care and bad debt, and the need for technology and medical innovations."

Nashville, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems (CYH), with 135 hospitals in 29 states, warned late Thursday that it experienced its "first significant earnings miss" in almost seven years in the June quarter. The hospital group gave no word of layoffs but said it is intensifying its focus on managing expenses.

After-tax profit in the quarter sank to $65 million vs. $151.7 million a year earlier as admissions fell 5.1% and uncompensated care costs topped expectations.” - Investors Business Daily, Hospital Layoffs Pick Up As ObamaCare Era Starts, Jed Graham, 07/19/2013

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