Via Christi to eliminate 70 positions, add 80 more

Wichita, Kan.-based Via Christi Health will lay off 70 employees over the next two weeks, according to The Wichita Eagle.

A number of factors led to the layoffs, including lower reimbursements. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's 4 percent cut to Medicaid reimbursement rates goes into effect July 1. Via Christi estimates the cuts will cost it $4.3 million a year. That's in addition to $14 million per year that Via Christi is losing due to the state's decision not to expand Medicaid.

Gov. Brownback made the reimbursement cuts to help fill the state's budget hole. Certain facilities such as rural hospitals are exempt from the cuts, causing hospitals, physicians, dentists and pharmacies in urban areas to account for most of the $38 million reduction in reimbursement rates, according to the report.

Bruce Witt, director of government relations for Via Christi, told The Wichita Eagle that the system projects it will end its fiscal year with an operating margin of 1.8 percent. For long-term viability, national benchmarks suggest margins of about 4 percent to 5 percent.

In addition to the layoffs, Via Christi also plans to leave 80 positions unfilled that were lost through attrition and to add 80 bedside nursing positions.

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