Harrison Medical Center to reduce staff

Harrison Medical Center President and CEO Scott Bosch announced Thursday that the organization will eliminate staff positions "across all areas over the next six to eight weeks," according to a Harrison Medical Center news release.

"At this time, we don't have a final number, but we're phasing our approach to assure that patient services will remain unaffected," Bosch stated.

One vice president and two executive assistants will be eliminated, according to the news release. Two "leadership positions" also were cut this week.

Harrison Medical Center will freeze all executive, director and manager salaries for the next fiscal year, saving more than $350,000, according to the news release.

Several factors contributed to the decision to trim the organization including a $3 million loss in state Medicaid funding; a $7 million cost to fund Harrison's Defined Benefit Pension program based on a loss of investment funds; rising health insurance premium costs; an increase in Harrison's "charity care," meaning the organization is paid less to provide the same care; and a decrease in "nearly all patient care services."

The news release also cited efficiency as a factor. A recent benchmarking study revealed Harrison is less efficient in many areas than its "like-sized peers."

"Our quality of care is tremendous, but we use more resources to produce the same results as like-sized hospitals that also have great quality," Bosch stated.

Earlier in the week, Harrison announced its decision to close its behavioral health unit, which affects 23 employees and several physicians. Harrison officials are attempting to move that staff to other departments.

"We're affecting people and I care deeply about each one," Bosch stated in the news release. "I promise that those who leave will be treated equitably."

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