Piedmont Job Cuts

High unemployment and many without health insurance in Georgia lead to layoff's at Atlanta Piedmont Hospital. A combination of Obamanomics and Obamacare is putting pressure on GA health care providers.

Piedmont Healthcare cutting 5 percent of workforce




The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

8:54 p.m. Thursday, June 9, 2011

Faced with a rising number of uninsured patients and unknown impact of the new health care law, Piedmont Healthcare announced Thursday evening plans to cut 464 jobs as part of an effort to save an estimated $68 million.

Totaling roughly 5 percent of its workforce, the cuts include 171 positions that were vacant or altered because of scheduling changes. Layoffs are coming from across the board, including Piedmont’s four hospitals, physicians group, heart institute and corporate division, spokeswoman Nina Day said.

“This is heart-wrenching,” Day said. “This is not easy stuff when you’re talking about people.”

The move is, in part, a reaction to hurdles many hospitals are facing, including a growing number of uninsured patients, a new state hospital bed tax, anticipated cuts to Medicare reimbursements and the Medicaid expansion in 2014, Day said.

“We do have a positive bottom line,” she said. “We would like to keep it that way for the sake of our patients.”

The goal is to not impact services to patients, Day said, adding that while she knew of no clinical service being shutdown, some resources may be cut back in certain areas.

Changes could include areas such as food court hours, room service delivery schedules and even eliminating coffee in certain departments, she said. Piedmont also reevaluated supplies and renegotiated contracts with vendors, Day said.

Piedmont’s push to realign itself with a rapidly changing industry began several months ago. The health system began notifying employees of the cuts last month, she said.

“I think for the most part, hospitals are facing some extraordinary challenges across the board,” said Kevin Bloye, a spokesman for the Georgia Hospital Association.

Hospitals throughout the state have been forced to cut back and lay off workers over the past few years, especially in the wake of the economic downturn, Bloye said. Many people lost their jobs, increasing the number of uninsured and under-insured patients. Others put off elective surgeries, which has had a dramatic impact on hospitals’ bottom lines, he said.

While hospitals will get more insured patients as a result of the Medicaid expansion in 2014, it’s a big trade off with Medicare cuts, he said. State officials have estimated Georgia could add more than 600,000 enrollees to its Medicaid program as a result of the expansion.

“It’s a challenge in time just trying to navigate all of these changes,” he said.







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