5 health systems laying off IT employees, outsourcing jobs in 2021

A slew of hospitals and health systems shook up IT employment strategies in 2021 with job cuts and outsourcing strategies to help cope with financial pressures stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here are five health systems that implemented layoffs or outsourced contracts among their IT units this year, as reported by Becker's Hospital Review.

1. St. Louis-based Ascension executed a few rounds of layoffs this year within its IT subsidiary Ascension Technologies. In May, it said it planned to lay off about 651 remote workers as it begins working with a third party to take over tech support for EHR and revenue cycle management responsibilities from its employees. In June, Ascension Technologies cut 92 remote jobs in Indiana. In September, the IT subsidiary said it planned to outsource about 330 tech jobs by mid-November. 

2. Bassett Healthcare Network in Cooperstown, N.Y., in May tapped Optum to provide IT and RCM services. As a result of the partnership, 500 Bassett Healthcare Network employees performing in-house functions were given the opportunity to transition to Optum, as the company takes over Bassett's RCM services, IT services and data and analytics capabilities. 

3. Baptist Health South Florida in May ended an RCM agreement it began in 2018 and said it would move about 600 employees in-house. Coral Gables-based Baptist formed Health System Solutions in 2018 as a joint venture with Chicago-based Navigant Consulting, which was acquired by GuideHouse in 2019. The venture was designed to offer RCM services to healthcare providers, beginning with Baptist Health South Florida, excluding its hospitals in Palm Beach County. 

4. In February, Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health said it would be laying off 277 employees, most of whom work in IT. The 277 eliminated jobs include 92 analysts, 43 engineers and 28 project managers. The health system cited a prioritization of direct patient care while "mitigating the financial impacts of the pandemic," as the reason for the cuts. 

5. Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health in January said it will outsource or retrain 1,700 employees who work in IT, billing, RCM and other support services. The health system said outsourcing the finance and IT jobs and other support services will help it improve efficiencies and focus on reducing costs in noncore business areas.


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