California health system to lay off 43 employees

King City, Calif.-based Mee Memorial Healthcare system said it is laying off 43 employees at its hospital and clinics.

The layoffs, which represent about 12 percent of the Mee Memorial workforce, come from all departments but will not affect nurses, physicians or physician assistants, according to TV station KION. The last day of employment for affected workers is Aug. 18.

"To reduce financial vulnerabilities and keep essential services in the community, Mee Memorial healthcare system has implemented a reduction in force affecting 43 out of its total 353 current employees," hospital administration said in a news release. "The decision was made after months of review and implementation of other cost savings measures, including eliminating or revising many operating contracts for services provided."

Hospital administration said Mee Memorial, outside of the layoffs, has also tried to make operations more effective and efficient by reducing the kinds of services provided. This includes discontinuing staffing for the intensive care unit and eliminating orthopedic services.

Michael Hutchinson, Mee Memorial’s CEO, attributed those decisions and the layoffs to the challenges rural hospitals face, such as reductions in reimbursements from public and private payers and "unreliable government funding and legislative delays, sometimes resulting in reimbursement delays for services years after they are provided."

"We have no choice but to react to lower volumes, lower reimbursement rates and to address the impacts of the transition to electronic medical records," he said. "We are currently overstaffed and need to reduce our employee numbers in order to come in line with other small rural hospitals, and to ensure we are offering efficient and sustainable care to our patients and community."

Mee Memorial Healthcare System is a nonprofit organization that operates Mee Memorial Hospital in King City, along with three clinics in King City and one in Greenfield, Calif.


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