HCN News & Notes

Baystate Health Announces Workforce Reduction

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Health is announcing a reduction in its workforce in response to current fiscal challenges and changes in the provision of healthcare.

This week, 24 Baystate employees received notifications that their employment in their current positions will end in 30 days, and 17 employees are seeing their hours reduced. An additional 45 open positions at Baystate Health are being eliminated, effective immediately.

Driving the decision to eliminate these positions is a current budget shortfall of about $22 million across Baystate Health. The shortfall represents the difference between Baystate Health’s budget for the year — the financial performance required to enable the organization to reinvest in its services, facilities, and technology in the coming year — and current projections for its yearly financial results. All the affected positions are Springfield-based, mainly at Baystate Medical Center. No bedside nurses or physicians are losing their employment. The jobs include management positions.

“We take any decision to end any person’s employment very seriously, and we regret the necessity of it,” said Nancy Shendell-Falik, chief operating officer of Baystate Medical Center. “We will do everything possible to help those affected find new opportunities, either within or outside Baystate Health.”

Affected employees will receive severance pay and extension of benefits in accordance with their tenure of service, as well as job-placement assistance. These actions are part of a multi-faceted effort to reduce costs and return the system to its budgeted operating margin, including work underway in supply chain, process improvement, energy efficiency, and other areas.

Every dollar of positive margin at the end of a fiscal year is reinvested into Baystate’s facilities, technology, programs, and services. Improvements such as the renovation of operating rooms at Baystate Franklin Medical Center and construction of the MassMutual Wing and Davis Family Heart & Vascular Center at Baystate Medical Center, as well new clinical technologies and equipment and the development of new clinical programs, are funded primarily by that margin.

“Like many healthcare providers, we are facing a need to adjust our human, material, and financial resources to adapt to the rapidly changing healthcare environment,” said Shendell-Falik. “Difficult decisions such as these make it possible for us to continue to invest in the services we’re able to provide our patients, whether it’s a new program, a new or renovated facility, surgical supplies, or a CT scanner.”

Baystate Medical Center is one of the largest providers of Medicaid services in Massachusetts, and provided more than $112 million in unreimbursed care in 2014. “We are committed to providing these services in line with our charitable mission; unfortunately, the reimbursements we receive for providing Medicaid services are well short of our costs, typically between 70 and 80 cents on the dollar,” said Shendell-Falik.

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