University Hospital lays off 30 workers

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About 30 people are out of a job at University Hospital, which is shelving a unit it no longer needs as it searches for more efficiency, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The eighth-floor South unit was a cardiac unit that was kept open after the hospital started moving most of those patients to its new Heart & Vascular Institute in January, spokeswoman Rebecca Sylvester said.

In light of declining revenues, "we're looking at all services and seeing where we can work as efficiently as possible," Ms. Sylvester said.

The affected employees have known for a while that the change was coming, Ms. Sylvester said.

"(They) got a two-month notice," she said.

The hospital tried to find other positions within the organization but in the end about 30 were affected, she said.

There are no plans for across-the-board layoffs, Ms. Sylvester said.

The hospital has been hurt by a slight drop in volume that has resulted in a much larger drop in revenue in particular areas, she said. For instance, many patients who would have been admitted to the hospital as inpatients are instead going to 23-hour observation, which pays much less, she said.

It is also a sign of the times.

"The economy has hit us over the past year much harder than we thought it would," she said.

Hospitals and health care used to be considered recession-proof, but no more, said J. Larry Read, the CEO of University Health Care System.

"We're seeing a change in the volume of patients; the number of elective patients coming to the hospital have dropped off," he said. "And not just at University, but these are national trends that we're seeing out there."

And it is not just limited to health care, Mr. Read said.

"Our whole economy is changing right now," he said.

Looming ahead is the potential impact of health care reform, Mr. Read said. He had not seen a breakdown of the most recent deal the American Hospital Association worked out with the Obama administration on Medicare and Medicaid cuts, but a previous estimate showed those cuts would cost University $119 million over 10 years, Mr. Read said.

"I think health care is going to change, and we and every other hospital will have to face the future in a more lean posture," he said. "But we can do that."

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

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patriciathomas
42
Points
patriciathomas 07/09/09 - 05:07 am
0
0
A reduction of $12 million /

A reduction of $12 million / year just in "government" payout to health care, which is already a break even or very low profit situation, is going to cost a lot more jobs in the near future. When 100million more people fall under the "new universal health care plan" the cost will increase accordingly. When the "rich" are taxed even more, it will cost even more jobs. Here comes the change you hoped for.

wise ole man
96
Points
wise ole man 07/09/09 - 06:52 am
0
0
They are cutting people! My

They are cutting people! My dad waited 12 hours in their ER for a room because they were full. How can they justify cutting working positions!

wheeza
1
Points
wheeza 07/09/09 - 07:27 am
0
0
Go to Doctors ER. We (my

Go to Doctors ER. We (my family) have always had the best care there and we have NEVER waited more than 15 to 30 minutes.

ripjones
2
Points
ripjones 07/09/09 - 07:52 am
0
0
Wise_ole_man - how can not

Wise_ole_man - how can not laying off people, "birth" a hospital room suitable for your Dad ?? Particularly if your Dad required telemetry or some other type of observation.

jackfruitpiper
0
Points
jackfruitpiper 07/09/09 - 08:27 am
0
0
Only 30 people laid off? What

Only 30 people laid off? What a crock! Those of us who work there know that it is closer to 250. What liars. Why the paper lets them get away with this I'll never know. Typical!

wise ole man
96
Points
wise ole man 07/09/09 - 08:51 am
0
0
He did need a specialty unit

He did need a specialty unit and yes, I would have preferred Doctors but his insurance is for Univeristy only and no he does not have Medicare or Medicaid- he has private insurance that he and my mother pay for. The beds were there- they did not have the nursing staff to support opening the beds on the unit he was being transferred to. His nurse told us she was the only one for 7 patients and this was above what is recommended.

tdp
0
Points
tdp 07/09/09 - 09:32 am
0
0
PT is correct. This problem

PT is correct. This problem will only gets worse with Obama's plan. We will all suffer under it. The people who elected him will see very soon what a terrible mistake they have made.

Tired of the BS
0
Points
Tired of the BS 07/09/09 - 09:55 am
0
0
I am willing to bet anyone

I am willing to bet anyone that J Larry Read has not even considered taking a reduction in pay. This is another fine example of what is wrong with our health care system. They need to be focusing on the patients and emloyees there but instead they are focusing on the monies to be made.

Whoever was talking about Doctors hospital is mistaken---you may get freindly service there, but you do in for a broken arm and come out with a cast on your leg.

Rev Earl
0
Points
Rev Earl 07/09/09 - 11:48 am
0
0
As Mr Obama told the ABC

As Mr Obama told the ABC reporter, At times all we can do is issue pain mediacation....get ready. You think a 12 hour wait is long..You have not seen anything yet!

jack
11
Points
jack 07/09/09 - 02:32 pm
0
0
Is theis the $155M the

Is theis the $155M the hospitals are giving BimbObama to "reforem" health care coing from? I wish to thank all you ignorant aholes that elected BimbObama!

Just My Opinion
6301
Points
Just My Opinion 07/09/09 - 02:51 pm
0
0
Tired...I have to agree with

Tired...I have to agree with the other posters who said Doctor's ER is excellent! I have no idea what you are talking about...in fact, what you're saying sounds ridiculous and I don't believe a word of it. Doctor's ER saved my mother's life, prevented my nephew's injuries from becoming life threatening, and helped to deliver my neighbor's child! I think that speaks volumes! Now, I WILL agree on what you said about the health care system's need to focus on patient and employee concerns, instead of focusing on all the money they can squeeze out of the patient, the doctors, and any other insurance company that might be involved!

sueboo418
37
Points
sueboo418 07/09/09 - 02:53 pm
0
0
My mother fell and we spent 6

My mother fell and we spent 6 hours in the ER at University yesterday and they finally put her in one of those observation rooms and sent her home today. She has a huge hematoma on her calf, is elderly and they had her on complete bed rest last night, didn't want her putting any weight on it and did not get her up until they were ready to ship her out the door this afternoon and she could barely walk and was yelling out with the pain and and it is now an open wound. She is certainly in no condition to go home but unless you are hooked up to an IV or almost dead they won't let you stay because insurance and medicare won't pay. Such a shame. I take care of her but I also work a full time job. I guess in my spare time I will have to take nursing classes. It was heart wrenching seeing my mother in such pain and knowing she was scared to leave. On the one good note, she had excellent care especially a nurse named Adrian. My hats off to her for taking such good care of my mom.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 07/09/09 - 04:28 pm
0
0
Tired of the BS. Why should

Tired of the BS. Why should he leave? Is it because he supervises less employees? Is it because he manages fewer facilities? Is it because he has fewer customers? Is it because his budget is much smaller and shrinking as we discuss this issue. Normally, downsizing results in people making less unless those making the decisions decide otherwise.

youbetcha
0
Points
youbetcha 07/09/09 - 07:31 pm
0
0
I heard the reason for the

I heard the reason for the lay off was because of the grand and allmighty tower... And it cost a little too much.Why build on when you know that health care is fixing to get screwed? Listen Doctors Hospital just laid off lab workers... They just hired a boat load of nurses, they too will be moving into a "tower" ok how does this make any sense? Build on move out of old, what do we do with the old? I think the same boneheads made these plans for these 2 hospitals. Buckle your seatbelts folks... If you are not a RN you may not have a job. It's all about the money. Poor management plays a BIG part also!

mosovich
858
Points
mosovich 07/09/09 - 11:00 pm
0
0
Hey, but they all have GREAT

Hey, but they all have GREAT looking grass and shrubs! How much do you think UH spends on it's pretty lawns and shrubs.. How many nurses or patient care people is that? What about their fancy hand towel dispensers and fancy billboards all over town.. Nurses and hosp. EEs are doing the best they can, yet upper mgt. just keeps giving them the shaft! The one's who are really getting the shaft are the patients...

wizzardx1
0
Points
wizzardx1 07/10/09 - 08:36 am
0
0
How can any hospital lose

How can any hospital lose money when they charge $9 for an aspirin?or triple charge for meds that were never given?According to my bill from uh,they gave me over a years doseage of my blood pressure meds in three days.A months worth of lisinopril is almost $20,they charged me $718 for the 6 pills over a three day period.

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