By Liz Kowalczyk, Globe Staff
Cambridge Health Alliance, which is facing significant financial problems, said today it will reduce its workforce by more than 300 employees, end inpatient hospital care in Somerville, and close six outpatient clinics and shut down its overnight pediatric beds and addiction unit.
Somerville Hospital will continue to operate a 24-hour emergency room, and the health care network's two other hospitals, in Cambridge and Everett, will remain open. Hospital officials said the reorganization plan is more dramatic than initially thought because the already-struggling hospital system was then hit with the recession.
"The original plan was for a more gentle rollout of the changes," said spokesman Doug Bailey. "But the economy that has affected everyone derailed us a little bit."
Cambridge Health Alliance is the state's second-largest safety net provider for the poor after Boston Medical Center. Even before the recession hit, the network was facing millions of dollars in state budget cuts, money that largely goes toward treating patients enrolled in the state Medicaid insurance program.
The network expects a $22 million operating deficit this year and had faced an unknown amount of losses in the new fiscal year that begins July 1. But the reorganization plan as well as other measures will save $150 million over the next two years, Bailey said, and hopefully allow the network to operate in the black.
The ambulatory care centers that are closing in North Cambridge, East Somerville, Cambridge's Central Square, Winthrop and Everett, and an eye center closing in Cambridge, will be merged with other, nearby outpatient clinics.
Closings will begin in late spring.
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