Wake hospital to cut staff

Nov. 14, 2012 @ 09:38 PM

Layoffs began this week at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center as part of a strategic plan to cut more than 400 active jobs and $150 million in expenses through next year.
The Roadmap to Excellence plan is aimed at reducing costs while also improving quality of patient care, according to hospital officials.
This week, the medical center will lay off 76 employees who will continue to receive their full pay and benefits through Jan. 4, 2013, when their severance benefits will begin.
The cuts come after nine quarters of medical center growth, but are needed to meet the expected impact from national health care reform and the economy, said Dr. John D. McConnell, medical center chief executive officer. The medical center’s goal is to be in the 25th percentile of academic medical centers in labor productivity by June 30, 2013, the end of the fiscal year, according to hospital officials. Almost two-thirds of the center’s total costs are labor. Medical center administrators have cut expenses and tightened budgets.
“Most providers are making plans, others are not,” McConnell said. “Waiting may not be prudent. We hope we will not have to do anything like this again. This is a strategy to move toward where we think the (hockey) puck will be.”
Overall, the medical center will eliminate about 950 full-time equivalent positions by June 30, 2013. About 50 percent of the cuts will involve deletion of vacant, temporary and contract labor positions, as well as normal attrition and retirements.
As many as 475 currently filled jobs, or 3.5 percent of the work force, will be eliminated by the end of June.
Hospital administrators say the change will not affect nurse-to-patient ratios, the quality of patient care or the research. About one-third of the reductions will come from corporate services and administrative areas.
“This will reduce the impact on research, which we think will come back and we could actually grow in that area,” McConnell said.
The remainder of the positions will be eliminated in the third and fourth quarters of this fiscal year. Displaced workers will have the opportunity to transfer to new jobs. The medical center will assist the employees in their job search and has arranged for outplacement assistance to provide guidance with resume writing, networking and using social media.