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      Phoebe management goes under the cost-cutting knife

      In April 2013, Phoebe Putney Health System announced that due to state reductions in Medicaid reimbursement for medical services provided, Phoebe would lose approximately two million dollars annually over the next nine years. / File

      The following statement was released by Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital:

      In April 2013, Phoebe Putney Health System announced that due to state reductions in Medicaid reimbursement for medical services provided, Phoebe would lose approximately two million dollars annually over the next nine years. With an additional loss of millions of dollars resulting from the federal implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Phoebe Putney started a process several months ago which involved re-evaluating management positions and streamlining the organization. As a result of this, the difficult decision was made to eliminate some management level positions. These changes have already occurred, and the majority of the people impacted by this restructuring have been given opportunities to apply for other vacant positions within Phoebe and some have already moved into other positions.

      "We continuously look for ways to be more efficient in our organization while still providing the highest level of quality medical care in the most cost effective manner possible," says Joel Wernick, president and CEO, Phoebe Putney Health System. Wernick adds, "If you look around the country and right here in Georgia, you see hospitals and physicians being impacted in a dramatic fashion financially by changes in the way the federal and state governments reimburse hospitals for the care they provide. This has caused hospitals to close their doors and some physicians to stop practicing. To protect this organization and our community, tough decisions are necessary. It's our goal to continuously look at our organization and maintain our place as a top performing healthcare organization with the best people and latest technology available."

      Approximately 20,500 health care and related jobs could be lost in Georgia by 2021 as a result of cuts triggered by the Budget Control Act of 2011. During the first year of the Sequester, more than 496,000 jobs will be lost nationally, including more than 13,000 in Georgia, according to a report produced by Tripp Umbach, a firm specializing in conducting economic impact studies. "With these kinds of statistics out there it is not surprising there is concern in the healthcare sector," said Wernick, who added, "The problems are not just limited to healthcare, however." The report found that the job losses will affect many economic sectors beyond health care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that health care created 169,800 jobs in the first half of 2012 and accounted for one out of every five new jobs created last year.

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