NAPA -- Queen of the Valley Medical Center said today it is eliminating 55 jobs, the result of the hospital needing to fill an $8.3 million budget deficit created in large part by the economic downturn.
The 191-bed hospital also cites decreased reimbursements for patient care services, fluctuating patient volumes, and increases in charity care and bad debt as motivations for the round of layoffs, which the hospital said will save approximately $3.2 million.
“We are entrusted with maintaining the viability of this hospital and its mission. With this calling comes responsibility and, at times, sacrifice in order to do what is good and just for the whole of the community,” Walt Mickens, president and CEO, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this is one of those times and we have made the difficult but necessary decision to reduce and realign our workforce.”
In addition to the 55 employees being laid off, another 20 employees will experience a reduction in hours, the hospital said. Affected employees will be given a 90-day advance notice of changes to their employment status rather than the required 60-day notice to provide them more time to adjust to this transition. Eligible employees impacted by the reductions will also receive transitional support including severance based on years of service, benefit continuation, outplacement support and employee assistance program resources.
The reductions affect employees at all pay grades and levels of training including managers, licensed health-professionals, support and clerical staff members.
“We have taken steps to ensure we maintain the highest level of patient care,” said Robert Eisen, vice president of Human Resources. “Preserving the quality and excellence in patient care for which the hospital is known is our top priority as we work to address the budget deficit.”
Executives at the Queen said they have worked over a period of several months to find ways to reduce the budget shortfall by controlling expenses where possible without eliminating positions. Steps taken include reducing departmental budgets; renegotiating contracts; not filling open, temporary or traveler positions above core staffing; and reducing other non-salary expenses such as limiting travel and catering.
“Unfortunately, these actions were not enough to align revenue and expenses and we had to look to staffing as an area to cut spending,” said Mr. Mickens.
Staffing consumes the largest portion of the the hospital’s annual budget, accounting for more than 60 percent of hospital expenses incurred each year.
Some of the employees whose positions are being eliminated will be eligible to fill open positions at the Queen or within St. Joseph Health System, the parent organization of the hospital. “We are working to do everything we can to find positions for impacted employees where appropriate,” said Mr. Eisen.
“This is not the first time that our hospital has faced challenges,” Mr. Mickens said. “As we have done in the past we will adapt to this change and remain steadfast in our commitment to provide the highest-quality care to the residents of this region now and in the future.”