SONOMA COUNTY - Redwood Regional Medical Group began reducing its staff by just under six percent late last week, or 20 positions, according to officials. The company also recently announced it would consolidate its cancer program last week.

[See the Aug. 24 story, "Redwood Regional learning to be 'nimble'"]

About eight of the eliminated positions were the permanent removal of unfilled jobs during the past eight months, either by staff voluntarily leaving or moving to other roles. Another 10 staff, mostly nonclinical, were notified of the change late last week, and the final three will be announced at a later date.

Redwood spokeswoman Maureen Middlebrook said the changes were made in the wake of revenue declines attributed mostly to patients losing medical coverage or waiting to do optional procedures. The group also expects to lose revenue with upcoming Medicare reimbursement changes.

"We tried to identify the best ways to streamline the business without having an effect on patient care," she said.

"For our employees' sake, we would love to say this is all, but we can't know that for sure. At this point this is all that has been planned."