80 full-time employees to be cut from Waterbury Hospital

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WATERBURY – Waterbury Hospital announced in a statement Thursday a four-part plan to “stabilize its financial condition and strengthen the organization for the future.” About 80 full-time positions will be cut.

“Sadly, community hospitals across the state and country are facing enormous challenges from state and federal reimbursement cutbacks, the impact of healthcare reform, a changing marketplace, and healthcare services shifting to outpatient settings,” said Darlene Stromstad, FACHE, President and CEO, Waterbury Hospital.  “These dynamics are especially difficult for hospitals like Waterbury Hospital which serve as a safety net hospital caring for the most vulnerable patients and community members.”

The hospital cited cutbacks in government reimbursement and other financial reforms as reasons for the cutbacks. They also said about 70% of Waterbury Hospital’s payments come from programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which do not cover the full cost of care for patients.  They say they will be reimbursed $9.77 million less in this fiscal year than they were for the 2014 fiscal year.

“Given the fiscal pressures facing our hospital, we have had to make very tough and painful choices.  Make no mistake, these are very difficult decisions,” said Stromstad.  “However, we must begin the process of triaging our limited resources to ensure that our patients have the best care possible and to ensure our hospital will be around for another 126 years.”

Here is their four-part plan:

  • Reducing the workforce through eliminating open positions, eliminating some full- and part-time positions, and reducing hours.  One-third of these jobs come from managerial staff, one-third come from union employees and one-third are non-union employees.  It is estimated that about 100 people will be impacted from both clinical and non-clinical departments; the total impact will not be known until the labor union “bumping process” is completed.

  • Eliminating and postponing all non-patient care initiatives.

  • Closing services such as community blood draw stations, consolidating some services and physician practices, and making cutbacks in the location and hours of service.

  • Changing the way the hospital operates, including potential outsourcing and collaborative opportunities.

 

“Many people worked tirelessly for countless hours and Waterbury Hospital spent millions of dollars to try and secure our future through a relationship with a strategic partner,” Stromstad continued.  “Unfortunately, during the two-year period we had been working toward a transaction with Tenet Healthcare, reform and financial pressures accelerated and we must act now.”

Stromstad urged local businesses and hospitals in the region to give preferential treatment for any open positions to Waterbury Hospital employees impacted by the cuts.