9 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, and 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 in the past year and dozens of others have implemented layoffs.

Below are nine hospitals and health systems that announced layoffs since November, some of which were attributed to financial strain caused by the pandemic. 

1. Sutter Health said in January that it plans to cut 200 non-clinical positions as part of a restructuring process. The Sacramento-based health system said that it targeted 200 jobs to eliminate, but fewer people may be laid off because some will be shifted to different departments. 

2. Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health announced in January that it will outsource, lay off or retrain 1,700 employees who work in information technology, billing, revenue cycle management and other support services. About two-thirds of the 1,700 employees will be joining third-party RCM, IT, billing or support staff vendors. About 600 to 650 positions will be eliminated. Baylor Scott & White said that employees whose positions are being eliminated will be invited to participate in retraining programs. 

3. Olympia Medical Center in Los Angeles is slated to close March 31. The closure will result in the layoffs of about 450 employees.

4. Brattleboro Retreat, a psychiatric and addiction treatment hospital in Vermont, announced in January that it eliminated 19 positions and created 10 new ones, according to VTDigger. The hospital notified 85 employees in late October that they would be laid off within 60 days. 

5. 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. Some layoffs occured in December and the rest will occur at the end of March. 

6. 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. 

7. 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

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

9. 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.

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