The following press release was issued by Phoebe Putney Health System on the cutting of 127 positions:
Phoebe Putney Health System today announced a loss of 127 positions to reduce system-wide operating costs by $10 million. Additionally, some other positions will be transitioned to employment with contracted service providers, giving impacted employees opportunities to fill those jobs. Employees affected by the reorganization will also be given priority consideration for positions that become available in the future. Today's announced cuts are in addition to the 33 leadership positions eliminated earlier this month, ending the labor expense reduction phase of a three-tiered expense reduction plan. The plan called for non-labor expense reductions, labor productivity optimization and process improvement and re-engineering initiatives.
"Like other hospitals and health systems throughout the United States, Phoebe is facing a tidal wave of economic change," said Joel Wernick, president and CEO, citing local economies, state Medicaid policies, cutbacks in reimbursements, Sequestration, and uncertainties related to the Affordable Care Act. "We're dealing with an economy and a change in the healthcare industry over which we have limited control."
Wernick said re-engineering and reorganization actions impact Phoebe's entire network of facilities, clinics and services. "The strength in our organization has been in our people, the Phoebe Family. We are going through a period of enormous adjustment. One of my greatest disappointments is we were not able to achieve the reduction needed in our labor force through normal attrition."
In a communication to employees, Wernick said the people who left the organization "are not just our co-workers. They are our friends and neighbors, and it deeply saddens me that this action had to occur. I mourn their loss, as I know you do too. While we all recognize this, we must not lose sight of the reason why we are here. We exist to care for patients. In order for us to continue to care for patients, we must change how we deliver care."