Mass. health system to cut 350 jobs

by Olga Deshchenko, DOTmed News Reporter | October 13, 2010
UMass Memorial Health Care, a health system that operates five hospitals, will cut approximately 350 jobs, the system announced Tuesday.

The nearly 2.6 percent reduction in the health system's workforce is the largest hospital cutback in Massachusetts this year, according to a Boston Globe report.

The 1,125-bed system plans to fire 130 employees, freeze 120 vacant jobs and eliminate an equivalent of about a 100 jobs through reductions to staff hours.

The cuts are a result of a combination of factors, including decreased reimbursement rates, rising costs of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals and "an industry-wide volume shift from inpatient to outpatient services," according to the health system's release.

"Providing quality, safe care to our patients and to the community is essential to UMass Memorial Health Care," said John O'Brien, president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care, in prepared remarks. "We must continue to reduce costs while never sacrificing that quality care. By addressing these challenges today, we are positioning ourselves to be financially sound for the long-term. Through thoughtful and difficult decision-making and with deep regret we must make these job eliminations."

The reductions will save $27.6 million in salaries and benefits for UMass Memorial Health Care. The health system employs 13,700 people and brings in $2.5 billion in revenue on an annual basis, according to the release.

Worcester-based UMass Memorial Medical Center will lose the most jobs. Leominster-based HealthAlliance Hospital already cut 42 positions in September. The majority of the jobs that will be lost are administrative, according to the release.

Other facilities in the health system are Clinton Hospital, Clinton; Marlborough Hospital, Marlborough; and Wing Memorial Hospital, Palmer.