Connecticut health system lays off managers, cuts 21 vacant jobs

Citing the current healthcare environment and financial pressures, Bristol (Conn.) Health on June 16 eliminated 31 positions, including both filled and vacant, according to a news release shared with Becker's

Out of the 31, 10 were filled, the majority of which were management, Kurt Barwis, president and CEO of Bristol Hospital and Healthcare Group, said in the release.

Hospital officials said the move does not affect medical staff or patient services employees and does not include a reduction in services, the Hartford Courant reported.

In addition to the job eliminations, the hospital's executive team took an 8 percent voluntary pay cut for the year.

"There was also a temporary change to our defined contribution retirement plan," Mr. Barwis said in the release. "All of these labor related actions have resulted in $3.9 million in immediate savings."

Mr. Barwis pointed to financial struggles hospitals across the country are facing, as well as other factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Hartford Courant, Bristol Hospital posted a $13.9 million operating loss in the last fiscal year and hired Impact Advisors, a consultant, to help improve the organization's financial picture.

The health system has also been working to save $5.5 million through supply chain improvements, the statement said.

"The current financial environment for health care institutions is extremely difficult due to the effects of the pandemic, Medicare Advantage abuse and our inability to get commercial insurers to increase our payment rates in response to unprecedented labor and supply cost inflation," Mr. Barwis said in a news release shared with Becker's. "Healthcare organizations throughout the country are being challenged to 'do more with less.' The 'more' includes, but is not limited to, improving patient safety, quality and providing more services. The 'less' means fewer resources and funds with which to work. Health systems will be continually challenged, now and into the foreseeable future, to deliver quality services in the safest possible way more efficiently and effectively."

He added that this is not the first time the hospital has struggled and said that each time, "we've made the hard decisions and focused on our strategic plan and patient care — and we've grown stronger."

With the job cuts, Bristol Health system has about 1,750 employees.

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