Hartford HealthCare, a statewide network of health care providers with 18,000 workers, is eliminating 350 jobs, the chief operating officer announced Monday.
About 230 people will be leaving through layoffs, buyouts and retirements, and the rest of the jobs are vacant positions, a spokeswoman said.
Hartford HealthCare includes Hartford Hospital and the Institute of Living, also in Hartford, as well as smaller hospitals in Meriden, Windham, New Britain, Southington and Norwich, nursing homes, physicians' practices and home health care services.
Jeffrey Flaks, chief operating officer, explained the layoffs in a note to staff Monday.
"We are focused on creating a more cost-efficient organization," Flaks wrote. "We have reduced and targeted more than $200 million in non-staff costs. ... However, we have to ensure that our staff size is appropriate to our patient volumes and the current economic conditions."
Flaks said the cuts are needed because fewer patients are covered by private insurance and more have Medicare or Medicaid, which pays providers less. He wrote, "We have seen a significant drop in our core inpatient business."
According to the most recent internal newsletter at the end of May, during the first seven months of fiscal 2014, inpatient discharges at Hartford Hospital were above budget by 0.6 percent and were 1.8 percent higher than the previous fiscal year.
The workers will be leaving over the next 30 days.
"There is a national mandate to lower the cost structure of health care. Today's announcement — although difficult and painful — shows how we are organizing ourselves to stay ahead of the change," said Rebecca Stewart, director of media relations. "Over the past several years, we have had an ongoing effort on driving efficiencies, lowering costs, reducing duplication in services and enhancing quality to make health care more affordable to patients. We expect to achieve a positive operating margin, but we need to reduce costs further."
Flaks said it might seem like a paradox that the system is spending on new outpatient sites and The Hospital of Central Connecticut's new cancer center, but he said investing in growth is essential in the competitive marketplace.
"If we do not reach our financial performance goals, we are in danger of losing access to the capital we need for growth at a time when we face new, for-profit competitors with substantial financial capabilities," he wrote.
In April, Flaks said he expected a five-story $110 million bone-and-joint institute would be open within two years. The 130,000-square-foot building will have 50 in-patient beds and 10 operating rooms for joint replacements and back surgeries.
In November, Hartford HealthCare cut 179 jobs, 95 through layoffs, voluntary retirements and resignations, and by eliminating 40 unfilled positions.
In June's round of layoffs, 46 will be from the Hartford region, which includes Hartford Hospital and Institute of Living, 45 people are from the East Region, which contains Windham and Backus hospitals; and 52 are being cut from the Central Region, which includes MidState Medical Center and the Hospital of Central Connecticut.
The others who are losing their jobs are from other parts of the system.
Stewart did not address how many of the jobs that were eliminated are nurses, technicians, social workers or other people who deliver services to patients. She said it's possible that clinical jobs are included in the job cuts.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun