Brigham and Women's offers voluntary buyouts to 1,600 workers

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Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital said Thursday it is offering voluntary buyouts to 1,600 employees as a means to cut costs, The Boston Globe reported.

Officials said the hospital, which is one of the city's largest employers, is profitable. However, it's facing pressure amid shrinking payments from government and commercial insurers and growing labor costs. Labor represents about 66 percent of the hospital's costs, according to the report.

Brigham is also dealing with debt from two major infrastructure projects, including a $510 million building that opened in 2016 and a $335 million software system that rolled out in 2015, according to the report.

"You can't just keep spending more and more and more and not making any more," Brigham spokeswoman Erin McDonough told The Boston Globe. "We know we need to work differently to sustain our mission for the future. We're really looking at how you reduce costs."

Although the buyouts are voluntary, hospital officials said layoffs could come later this year depending on how many employees accept the buyout offer, reports The Boston Globe.

Brigham and Women's, which is owned by Boston-based Partners HealthCare, has about 18,000 employees, according to the report. To be eligible for the buyout offer, employees must be 60 or older. The deal includes one year of base pay.

About 5,300 employees — including physicians, faculty and research staff — will be excluded from the offer, according to the report. Approximately 475 unionized workers are eligible for the buyout, but Brigham officials said it must get approval from the unions before offering members the deal. 

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