LRHC cuts 33 positions [UPDATED]Published 11:14am Friday, May 3, 2013 Updated 11:15am Friday, May 3, 2013
Lake Region Healthcare on Thursday announced the elimination of 33 positions throughout the organization, 16 of which were layoffs in various departments, effective over the course of two to four weeks.
The eliminations were part of an internal Financial Improvement Plan, LRHC President and CEO Larry Schulz said. The other 17 positions were eliminated by not filling positions of those who retired or resigned, and consolidation of duties.
The layoffs, retirements and reassignments amounted to about 1.7 percent of LRH’s 900 employees and will result in a $617,000 savings, or 2 percent, according to Schulz.
“Changes like this are never easy,” Schulz said. “We are very sensitive to the people whose positions are affected, and we are doing what we can to help refer them for application to open positions at Lake Region Healthcare or elsewhere in the community.”
Among the positions cut, four were from risk management, three from the physical therapy department, three certified nursing assistants, and five positions from radiology, respiratory care, nursing administration and rehab departments.
Coupled with some rate increases, effective in July, and other policy changes to improve reimbursements from insurance companies for instance, LRH will realize cost savings of about $2 million for the remainder of this fiscal year.
The plan was initiated in anticipation of continued funding cuts from government programs, the sequestration act, which alone has cut funds by about $500,000, and fewer people seeking health care services, Schulz said.
“The impacts are real, and the time to be proactive is now in order to position ourselves for a strong future in this ever-changing healthcare landscape,” he said. “We tried very hard to come up with $2 million in the FIP to have as little impact on individuals as possible.”
The FIP looked at job functions in nearly all 28 departments of the healthcare facility, he said.
“In looking at some job functions, it was apparent some positions could be consolidated into other positions, with no loss of quality of care to patients,” he said.
As it became apparent to hospital leaders that changes were necessary, input was sought from employees for additional savings through improved efficiencies.
One example of a cost savings came from a lab employee, Schulz said. Two procedures may be used to draw blood, but one costs about $1 less through the use of supplies and could be used on a majority of patients. The savings could add up to $50,000, he said.
Other employees suggested changes in how the hospital uses copy machines and printers. Switching to PDF or electronic versions documents would save the organization additional money.
“Like many healthcare providers, we must respond and adapt to the many changes and challenges in the healthcare industry such as payment reform, the impact of the Accountable Care Act, ongoing regulatory and legislative pressures and industry-wide trends toward declining volumes,” Schulz said.