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UMass Memorial to Lay Off 140 Employees

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

 

Central Mass healthcare provider UMass Memorial Health Care will cut 140 full-time equivalent positions over the coming months in its continuing efforts to make up for a $50 million financial shortfall, according to a memo from CEO John O'Brien sent to staff on Tuesday.

"While significant expense savings and revenue enhancement efforts were implemented in February, significant volume declines in our inpatient services such as cardiology medicine and women’s services – coupled with declining reimbursements – continue to threaten our ability to end this fiscal year with an operating margin that breaks even," wrote O'Brien.

"More importantly, without a continued, aggressive focus on providing more affordable care at the Medical Center, our operating margin will be threatened for the foreseeable future."

According to the letter, UMass Memorial will eliminate roughly 140 positions from the Medical Center and primary care practice Medical Group, as well as numerous corporate departments including Information Services, Marketing and Communications, Human Resources and the Fiscal department.

O'Brien said the health care system, which includes five hospitals, community physician practices, UMass Memorial Laboratories and other non-hospital programs, has been actively trying to close a forecasted $50 million gap in its finances. Although annual expenses have been reduced by about $20 million since February, O'Brien said there was still work to be done.

UMass Memorial began implementing changes more than a year ago to become a more affordable care provider. In his letter, O'Brien detailed how the health care provider's Pharmacy operations realized $1.6 million in savings by revamping protocols and providing lower cost drugs of the same quality as their higher priced counterparts.

"Our Inspired Change initiatives are already providing impressive results across our health care system in streamlining our operations for improved performance and efficiency, eliminating waste and providing a much-improved physician, clinician and staff experience."

In the meantime, UMass Memorial has opened its cancer pavilion at Marlborough Hospital, expanded its cancer care at Simonds-Sinon Regional Cancer Center at Health Alliance Hospital, launched a new radiology suite at the Medical Center, a new emergency department at Clinton Hospital and its Community Medical Group continues to expand its primary care practices throughout Central Mass.

Yet the constant drive my health insurance companies to lower their own costs has taken a toll on the Medical Center, which O'Brien said will continue to be the focus of UMass Memorial's expense-reduction efforts.

"While our community hospitals are among the region’s affordable providers, our Medical Center often is not because it is a teaching and safety-net hospital that provides services that our community hospitals cannot."


 

 

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