Boston Medical Center said this afternoon that it expects to lose $175 million this year due to "dramatic changes" in the way it is reimbursed for taking care of Medicaid patients.
The hospital said the losses are prompting it to reduce its workforce by 119 people, effective Oct. 1.
Here is the announcement:
Boston Medical Center announced today that it has made a reduction in force of 119 people, including 44 nurses and 30 management staff. Another 40 employees will see their hours reduced. The hospital has a total work force of almost 6,000 people, more than 1,500 of whom are nurses.
“The hospital is projected to lose $175 million this year due to dramatic changes in Medicaid reimbursements,” said Tom Traylor, BMC’s vice president of federal, state and local programs. “We have been talking to the staff about this new reality for well over a year, and have been working to assess and increase efficiency in every corner of the hospital. We have been consulting with outside experts to study the efficiency of delivery of patient care, and they found very little excess capacity particularly in terms of hospital staffing levels. This layoff is one necessary element of addressing the hospital’s financial situation.”
Employees were notified on Friday, Sept.10. The layoffs are effective Oct. 1. Those notified include 30 members of management, 44 registered nurses, 4 LPNs and a variety of administrative positions."
The union that represents many of the workers, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, said the cuts will have an impact on a wide swath of services including nursing, patient access coordinators, dieticians and clinical engineers.
Veronica Turner, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU and a former Boston Medical Center employee, said in a statement that Boston Medical Center is already among the most efficient in Massachusetts -- a reference to the notice the hospital sent the union explaining that the layoffs were intended to make the hospital more efficient.
"Patient care access is suffering because the state has failed to provide fair reimbursement for care and its management is not effectively communicating with staff about a plan for the hospitals future," the statement said.
"In order to save the hospital, the state must present a solution to the funding crisis and BMC management must include its staff in forming a real plan for the hospitals future.
Ultimately, the services provided to the regions poorest residents through BMC are a key part of maintaining a cost-effective and comprehensive healthcare safety net. It’s time for everyone, including elected officials, to come together and figure out a plan. The hospital can’t simply cut its way out of the current funding inequities.”
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