High Point Regional shedding jobs
High Point Regional Health announced today it will be cutting about 5 percent of its work force, affecting about 115 positions in both clinical and nonclinical positions at the hospital.
Nearly 60 percent of the hospital’s affected employees will have the opportunity to move to other positions available within High Point Regional, according to a press release, and the rest may be able to relocate to other positions in the UNC Health Care System.
Executive Vice President Greg Taylor said the cuts are due to reductions in inpatient care and reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid, along with the impact of health care reform.
Taylor said the hospital has current job vacancies and officials are making every effort to make sure the jobs offered within High Point Regional Health are as similar to the employee’s current position as possible and added, “but it will not likely be the same.”
Taylor said Thursday he could not comment on which positions that will be affected by the change, nor what will be available alternatives. The hospital is still notifying employees.
“We’re making every effort to notify affected employees by the end of the work week,” Taylor said.
Affected employees will continue to work until the end of June.
“We anticipate that every employee will be offered an alternative,” Taylor said. “It’s hard to say exactly what will be available, but we will work closely with staff to monitor those openings.”
Taylor anticipated that there are about 60 jobs available within High Point Regional Health for those 115 employees.
For employees who do not find job opportunities within High Point Regional Health or the UNC Health System, Taylor says they will be offered a severance package that is customized by position and tenure.
The job cuts paint quite a different scenario than the one hospital officials outlined in March. When the hospital merged with UNC Health Care in March 2013, hospital officials vowed not to make any cuts to staffing during the first year after the merger.
Last March, the year anniversary of the merger, hospital officials told The High Point Enterprise there was still no intent to make any changes.Taylor said at the time that hiring for positions in administration, clerical and other positions was placed on hold and employees were asked to remain flexible in work schedules in order to keep expenses low, adding that it was “clearly our intent to continue forward and not make any changes.”
Officials say they already were in deliberation about possible job cuts when the new CEO, Ernie Bovio, came on board, adding that Bovio had not been a big part of the discussion when a final decision was made on the cuts in April.
“We all feel regret that this has happened,” Taylor said. “Since March, we’ve spent a lot of time crafting our budget for 2015, and the 2015 fiscal year begins July 1, so it was during those budget deliberations that led us to the conclusion that we needed to realign the work force.”
Taylor said if there is another influx in patient need, they can increase staffing again in the future.
“Patient safety and quality are first and foremost, and we will continue to have plenty of staff to care for the patients,” he said. “If necessary in the future, we can flex our staffing up.”
The hospital agreed to merge with UNC in 2013 to secure High Point Regional’s long-term financial future, officials said at the time.
It’s a common trend among smaller medical centers to merge with larger health care systems in response to the recession and a greater need to provide medical care for those who don’t have health insurance or can’t pay the bill.
UNC Health Care committed to give High Point Regional $150 million over a three-year period along with $50 million during the same time toward a community health fund that would support efforts to serve low-income patients, High Point Regional President Jeff Miller said when the merger was announced in 2012.
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