15 hospitals laying off workers

The financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have forced hundreds of hospitals across the nation to furlough, lay off or reduce pay for workers, and others have had to scale back services or close. 

Lower patient volumes, canceled elective procedures and higher expenses tied to the pandemic have created a cash crunch for hospitals. U.S. hospitals are estimated to lose more than $323 billion this year, according to a report from the American Hospital Association. 

Hospitals are taking a number of steps to offset financial damage. Executives, clinicians and other staff are taking pay cuts, capital projects are being put on hold, and some employees are losing their jobs. More than 260 hospitals and health systems furloughed workers this year and dozens of others have implemented layoffs. 

Below are 15 hospitals and health systems that announced layoffs since Sept. 1, many of which were attributed to financial strain caused by the pandemic. 

1. Minneapolis-based Children's Minnesota is laying off 150 employees, or about 3 percent of its workforce. Children's Minnesota cited several reasons for the layoffs, including the financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected employees will end their employment either Dec. 31 or March 31.

2. Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health announced in early December that it will lay off 102 employees in finance and accounting roles. The duties of the affected workers will be outsourced to a third-party vendor in India.

3. Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport, N.Y., announced in early November that it plans to end intensive care unit services and move surgical services from the hospital to a surgery center. The changes will result in the loss of 80 jobs. 

4. Detroit Medical Center confirmed in November that it laid off employees but declined to disclose the number of employees affected. Clinical staff, administrative assistants and employees at the management level were affected by the layoffs, sources told Crain's Detroit Business

5. Mercy Iowa City (Iowa) laid off 29 employees in November to address financial strain tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

6. NorthBay Healthcare, a nonprofit health system based in Fairfield, Calif., announced Nov. 2 that it is laying off 31 of its 2,863 employees as part of its pandemic recovery plan.

7. Brattleboro Retreat, a psychiatric and addiction treatment hospital in Vermont, notified 85 employees in late October that they would be laid off within 60 days. 

8. Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente notified the state of Hawaii in November that it planned to lay off 45 employees within 60 days. "The COVID-19 public health crisis has placed unprecedented demands on the entire health care system, including Kaiser Permanente," a Kaiser spokesperson said in an email to Pacific Business News. "Even before the pandemic, we had been transparent in sharing that Kaiser Permanente Hawaii faced ongoing financial challenges and that we were on a path to address our internal structure in a way that ensured we would be able to continue to deliver high-quality, affordable care and coverage to our members in Hawaii for years to come." The health system said most of the positions eliminated were administrative or in non-patient facing areas.

9. Citing a need to offset financial losses, Minneapolis-based M Health Fairview said in October  it plans to downsize its hospital and clinic operations. As a result of the changes, 900 employees, about 3 percent of its 34,000-person workforce, will be laid off.

10. Lake Charles (La.) Memorial Health System laid off 205 workers, or about 8 percent of its workforce, in October as a result of damage sustained from Hurricane Laura. The health system laid off employees at Moss Memorial Health Clinic and the Archer Institute, two facilities in Lake Charles that sustained damage from the hurricane.

11. Burlington, Mass.-based Wellforce laid off 232 employees in September as a result of operating losses linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. The health system, comprising Tufts Medical Center, Lowell General Hospital and MelroseWakefield Healthcare, experienced a drastic drop in patient volume earlier this year due to the suspension of outpatient visits and elective surgeries. 

12. Baptist Health Floyd in New Albany, Ind., part of Louisville, Ky.-based Baptist Health, eliminated 36 positions in late September. The hospital said the cuts, which primarily affected administrative and nonclinical roles, are due to restructuring that is "necessary to meet financial challenges compounded by COVID-19."

13. Cincinnati-based UC Health laid off about 100 employees in September. The job cuts affected both clinical and non-clinical staff. A spokesperson for the health system said no physicians were laid off. 

14. Springfield, Ill.-based Memorial Health System laid off 143 employees in September, or about 1.5 percent of the five-hospital system's workforce. The health system cited financial pressures tied to the pandemic as the reason for the layoffs. 

15. Watertown, N.Y.-based Samaritan Health announced Sept. 8 that it laid off 51 employees and will make other cost-cutting moves to offset financial stress tied to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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