June 25, 2013
St. Elizabeth Medical Center announced today that a staff reduction is being implemented to ensure the hospital’s long-term sustainability. The delivery of safe, high-quality patient care remains the primary focus and patient care will not be affected.
St. Elizabeth currently employs 1,951 people. Ten employees were laid off and approximately 40 vacant positions will be eliminated. The employees worked in all areas of the Medical Center and ranged from executive leadership to administrative to those with direct-care responsibilities.
Many individuals will be offered the opportunity to apply for any vacant position for which they qualify. Due to a prolonged decrease in hospital inpatients, one medical/surgical unit, 2D, was closed effective June 24.
“These are extremely difficult decisions in challenging economic times,” said Richard Ketcham, President/CEO. “We have a responsibility and an obligation to the community we serve, the Medical Center and its Board of Trustees to ensure the long-term fiscal health of the organization, while continuing to meet our mission. This further demonstrates the importance of success in our affiliation plans with Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, which we are still pursuing diligently.”
Numerous factors led to the reduction of the Medical Center’s workforce including the decreased reimbursement to hospitals by New York State Medicaid over multiple years. In addition, Medicare reimbursements have not kept pace with the high cost of care.
St. Elizabeth has experienced over $11 million of New York State Medicaid cuts in the past three years. New York State’s ongoing budget crisis presents immense financial challenges to patient-care providers, who continue to receive cuts to their payments. “We will continue to work with our elected officials on achieving Medicaid reform that includes the redesign of the Medicaid system,” Mr. Ketcham said.
Vice President Human Resources Patrick Buckley added, “Administration is aware that this layoff affects not only the Medical Center organization, but individuals and families. We understand that valued employees and others are affected in this process. The Human Resources Department is currently working to support our employees and departments.”