Baxter Health cut 155 positions through attrition, CEO says

Ron Peterson, CEO of Mountain Home, Ark.-based Baxter Health, stamped out rumors of large-scale layoffs during a Nov. 15 interview with local radio station KTLO. The health system has been able to deal with financial challenges in another way, he said: attrition. 

"We have been working hard on trying to reduce our costs. We've been looking since about July to try to reduce the number of FTEs, or the number of people working at the hospital," Mr. Peterson said. "We've been able to eliminate through attrition, which means basically as somebody quits their employment at the hospital for whatever reason, if they retire, if they get a new job, then we don't refill those positions." 

The hospital has left 155 of these positions vacant, which has been helpful in reducing the number of FTEs, according to Mr. Peterson. There are some vacant roles at the hospital that still need to be filled, and employees are being asked to shuffle around to close the gaps. 

"Now what we're getting into is we need to restructure and reorganize, so we're asking some employees to not continue in their current position but to look at the positions that are open in the hospital and take something that they're qualified for in a different department or different area of the hospital," he said. 

About nine employees have not been able to make the transfer, per Mr. Peterson. Those who do maintain their seniority and benefits. 

"We just find that our strength is in our people," he said. "We don't want to just lay people off, that's not our goal. We want to try to keep as many people as we can. That's why we're going through the process that we're going through versus a massive layoff."

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