WCA Hospital officials have eliminated 15 positions because of a 2-percent cut in medicare reimbursement starting in 2013.
The 15 cuts made include 10 security related positions and five other personnel in fields like environmental services and finance. No nurses, physicians or direct-care personnel positions were eliminated.
Betsy Wright, WCA Hospital president and chief executive officer, said the decision to cut positions stems from the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The health care reform act will lead to a 2 percent reduction in medicare reimbursement starting in 2013. Wright said the reduction will mean $44.5 million less during the next 10 years for WCA Hospital.
Ms. Wright said the eliminations happened the week of Dec. 3 through Dec. 7. She said the 10 security personnel were eliminated when hospital officials contracted with U.S. Security for protection purposes at both WCA Hospital and Jones Hill Memorial Health Center. She said six of the 10 security personnel interviewed with U.S. Security to continue work at WCA, with five being hired. Of the five other non-security positions eliminated, three of the employees found other jobs at WCA Hospital. Wright said WCA officials are continuing to work with job agencies to find the two other employees new jobs.
''It was not an easy decision,'' Ms. Wright said about eliminating 15 positions. ''It was a tough decision. We needed to find efficiencies where we could.''
Ms. Wright did not know the exact dollar figure the hospital will save by eliminating the 10 security positions and contracting with U.S. Security. She said the move was made to have more depth and personnel involved in security.
''It is more about the depth than the actual dollar amount,'' she said. ''It is a change in who employs them. They still have all the same qualifications, it is just a different organization. This way we have more depth and more personnel''
Ms. Wright said no hospital employees have discussed any concerns with her about the security changes.
Ms. Wright said other positions in the hospital have been eliminated through attrition. She also said employees have had their hours decreased, but didn't know the exact number.