Job cuts touch healthcare leaders

Recent data showed hospital margins nationally moving toward pre-pandemic levels as organizations adjust and think strategically amid a new environment. However, it is unclear how hospitals will fare throughout 2024, and there is anecdotal evidence that a number of facilities continue to make tough decisions amid financial headwinds.  

At least 12 hospitals and health systems have reduced their workforces or jobs since Jan. 1 due to financial and operational challenges. In one instance, Medford, Ore.-based Asante laid off about 3% of its workforce. The layoffs primarily affected administrative and support roles and were necessary to offset "financial headwinds" over the past several years, according to a report from NBC affiliate KOBI-TV, which is based on an internal memo sent to staff Feb. 9. 

But job cuts, which can be part of restructuring or a result of service closures, are affecting roles beyond administrative and support positions, too. In these instances, financial headwinds are often cited as a contributing factor to the decision.

Most recently, Ridgecrest (Calif.) Regional Hospital announced more layoffs to avoid closure. It is laying off 31 more employees, including seven licensed vocational nurses and four registered nurses, two months after it announced plans to lay off nearly 30 others and suspend its labor and delivery unit, reported Feb. 15.

Oakdale, Calif.-based Oak Valley Hospital District is also scaling back services and laying off workers to improve its finances. The hospital said it will close its five-bed intensive care unit, discontinue its family support network department and lay off 28 employees, including those in senior management and supervisor positions. 

Additionally, Chicago-based Rush University System for Health laid off an undisclosed number of employees in administrative and leadership positions, also citing financial headwinds.

These and other layoffs come as executives at hospitals across the U.S. face tough decisions as they focus on key areas such as quality, growth and strategy to ensure long-term success and, in some cases, boost hiring. These decisions range from service cuts to streamlining leadership structures, and it remains to be seen how layoffs could affect leadership teams moving forward. 

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