No layoffs in wake of H.P. Regional merger anniversary
No layoffs are planned at High Point Regional Health now that a yearlong grace period is passing during which health care leaders pledged no changes in the work force in the wake of the merger with UNC Health Care.
The merger, the first in High Point Regional’s more than 100-year history, was announced in the fall of 2012. When High Point Regional and UNC Health Care officials unveiled the deal, they pledged that the High Point Regional work force wouldn’t change during the first year under the merger. This week marks the first anniversary since the formal completion of the merger.
High Point Regional officials have made a concerted effort during the initial year to take steps and avoid any work force reductions after the first anniversary, said Chief Operating Officer Dr. Greg Taylor.
“There is no intent to make any changes,” Taylor told The High Point Enterprise.
High Point Regional officials have been communicating with employees about the status of the work force, Taylor said Monday.
“As you might imagine, there was a little bit of anxiety about the first anniversary. But it’s clearly our intent to continue forward and not make any changes,” he said.
With 1,822 full-time equivalent employees, High Point Regional is the third-largest employer in the city, according to the most recent annual report from the High Point Economic Development Corp.
Major layoffs have happened in the past two years at other major medical centers in the Triad. Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem and Cone Health in Greensboro each laid off hundreds of employees as part of reducing expenses.
Taylor said High Point Regional has taken a series of steps to avoid work force reductions, such as managing overall expenses.
“We’ve been very circumspect in terms of hiring. The actual salary dollars have decreased,” Taylor said.
Positions that involve critical medical care have been filled, he said. But duties in administrative, clerical and other positions have been shifted, or hiring for certain openings has been “put on hold,” Taylor said.
Employees also have been asked to work more flexible schedules to help keep expenses lower, he said.
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New top leader
High Point Regional Health officials announced last week that Ernie Bovio will become its new president and chief executive officer, replacing longtime top hospital leader Jeff Miller, who is retiring. Bovio has served as chief executive officer with Baylor, Scott & White Health in the Hill Country and Round Rock regions in Texas for the last nine years. Bovio will start at High Point Regional in early May.