CommonSpirit to lay off workers at Oregon, Tennessee hospitals

Chicago-based CommonSpirit plans to lay off workers at hospitals in Oregon and Tennessee in the wake of a $365 million operating loss for the quarter ending March 31. 

CHI Mercy Health-Mercy Medical Center and Centennial Medical Group in Roseburg, Ore., is eliminating 18 jobs, mostly in leadership support, according to local news outlet KLCC.

The 174-bed hospital, part of CommonSpirit, said the workforce cuts were a difficult but necessary decision amid ongoing financial pressures. 

"The financial pressures and workforce challenges facing health systems nationwide persist and continue to impact hospitals like ours," Russell Woolley, CEO and president of CHI Mercy Health-Northwest Region, said in a statement shared with Becker's. "As a result, we are taking steps to improve efficiency and effectiveness, as well as reduce our costs to ensure we remain a strong and stable health care system for the communities we serve."

The hospital said it is working with affected employees on a transition plan that includes applying for other open positions within the health system. 

"Fortunately, many of the necessary changes are being addressed with natural employee attrition, improved scheduling efficiencies, and reducing contract services," Mr. Woolley said. 

CommonSpirit's Chattanooga, Tenn.-based CHI Memorial Hospital is also laying off employees and reassigning others to cut costs amid persistent financial challenges, according to the Times Free Press

The health system said fewer than 50 workers will be laid off and added that many can apply for other hospital jobs. Karen Long, a spokesperson for the hospital, told the Times Free Press several factors sparked the job cuts, including the hospital's separation from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee in June.

She also said the system is working through increased labor costs, inflation and low reimbursement. 

The timeline for layoffs at either hospital could not be confirmed. CommonSpirit did not respond to Becker's inquiries about whether layoffs are planned at other hospitals. 

CommonSpirit reported operating losses of $365 million and $411 million during the three- and nine-month periods ending March 31. While the health system has seen some earnings improvement, continued salary and supply cost inflation offset gains. Revenue was up 9.5% year over year for the quarter while expenses were up 7.8% and labor costs soared 8.3%.

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