Adventist Health to lay off 1,300+, keep wildfire-damaged hospital closed

Roseville, Calif.-based Adventist Health will not reopen its hospital in Paradise, Calif., and finalized more than 1,300 layoffs, according to the Paradise Post.

Adventist Health submitted a required Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification letter to the state Jan. 8 explaining that more than 1,300 full- and part-time employees would be affected by the closure of Adventist Health Feather River.

The health system conducted a town hall meeting for employees in December 2018 and sent an email to employees about the hospital’s closure.

Adventist Health previously told the San Francisco Chronicle the hospital was severely damaged by the Camp Fire, the largest wildfire in U.S. history that burned at least 153,336 acres and destroyed at least 19,000 buildings, according to USA Today.

Officials told the Chronicle the hospital would not be restored until maybe 2020, but that all employees would receive their full salaries through Feb. 5 and full health benefits until May, according to the Paradise Post.

Officials said employees are encouraged to take advantage of services offered by the health system to assist in the employment search.

To access the full report, click here.



Bay Medical to lay off up to half of 1,450 staff

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Panama City, Fla.-based Bay Medical Sacred Heart revealed on Dec. 4 it expects to lay off 635 staff members early next year once it reopens, according to a news release obtained by the Panama City News Herald.

Bay Medical sustained heavy wind and water damage when Hurricane Michael hit the U.S. coastline in October, and has ceased all operations apart from its emergency room since the storm. Officials said they plan to reopen the hospital in stages starting soon after Jan. 1. However, the hospital will reopen at one-fourth of its previous 323-bed size.

The first phase of the reopening will include 75 inpatient beds with eight operating rooms and five catheterization labs, according to the report.

Hospital officials said in the Dec. 4 news release they plan to keep about half of the 1,450-person staff after Feb. 4, 2019, after the hospital reopens. A hospital board of trustee member told the Panama City News Herald “all levels of service will be affected, from department heads to the maintenance guys.” About one-third of the affected individuals are part-time, as needed or temporary employees, a hospital spokesperson told Becker’s.

Bay Medical has continued to pay employees and provide benefits since the hurricane and will continue to pay employees and fund benefits through Feb. 4 and Feb. 28, respectively.

“We are heartbroken to share this news at such a difficult time,” Bay Medical CEO Scott Campbell said in the Dec. 4 news release. “The decision to reduce our workforce has been incredibly difficult, but necessary to ensure our ability to continue providing care to the community and preserve critical services.”

The hospital is also in the midst of a transfer of control. Bay Medical’s owner, Nashville, Tenn.-based Ardent Health Services, recently signed a letter of intent to transfer its controlling interest in the hospital to St. Louis-based Ascension.

To aid in the workforce transition, Ascension said it plans to hold a job fair tentatively scheduled for Dec. 10-11. In a Dec. 4 statement to the Panama City News Herald, Ascension and Ardent said they are committed to hiring as many eligible employees as possible for openings in their systems.

To access the full report, click here.


Pennsylvania hospital closure will result in 505 layoffs

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Harrisburg, Pa.-based UPMC Pinnacle will close its hospital in Lancaster, Pa., March 1, and lay off the hospital’s 505 employees.

The health system announced plans in December to close UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster and transition inpatient services to UPMC Pinnacle Lititz (Pa.). The two hospitals are about 7 miles apart.

The transition of inpatient services from the Lancaster hospital to the Lititz hospital will be completed by March. When the Lancaster hospital shuts down, 505 employees will be laid off, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice filed by UPMC Pinnacle.

However, some employees may transfer to other UPMC Pinnacle facilities.

“Although employees do not have bumping rights into occupied positions, we do have a number of open positions for which many of the affected individuals would qualify,” Ann H. Gormley, senior vice president of human services for UPMC Pinnacle, wrote in the notice, according to the Central Penn Business Journal. “Employees are being provided notice and are encouraged to apply for vacant UPMC Pinnacle affiliate positions in which to seek a transfer.”



Swedish Health Services cuts 550 jobs

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Seattle-based Swedish Health Services is eliminating about 550 jobs, which represents about 4 percent of the health system’s 13,500-person workforce, according to The Seattle Times.

The job cuts are part of the system’s ongoing reorganization plan. In a memo to employees, Swedish Health CEO Guy Hudson, MD, said the system is cutting jobs and making other changes to shift to a “more cost-effective model of care” that involves investing more in outpatient care and focusing less on hospital care, according to the report.

Swedish Health declined to say which positions or programs would be affected by the job cuts. The system intends to inform employees by Sept. 14.

Although the system is scaling back its workforce in some areas, Swedish Health plans to add new staff to support other service lines, including adding physician assistants and registered nurse practitioners to some of its primary care clinics.



Steward Ohio hospital ups layoffs to 468 as closure looms

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Dallas-based Steward Health Care issued a revised notice Aug. 17 indicating job losses from the pending closure of one of its hospitals in Ohio will affect approximately 80 more people than previously reported, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Steward revealed plans last week to close Youngstown-based Northside Regional Medical Center on Sept. 20. The health system initially stated it would lay off all of the facility’s 388 employees, according to a WARN notice filed Aug. 15.

However, a revised WARN notice dated Aug. 17 indicates the closure will affect 468 employees. All hospital workers will be paid through Oct. 14.

Steward acquired Northside Regional and seven other facilities from Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems last year.

Area healthcare leaders expressed dismay over the planned closure to The Business Journal, but said the move was not entirely unexpected.



IBM Watson slashed workforce this week

IBM Watson slashed workforce this week

With one employee describing the layoffs as a cost-cutting measure, estimates say Big Blue may have cut as much as 70 percent of its employees.

After multiple press reports said IBM Watson laid off 50-70 percent of its workforce, a research note published by investment banking company Morgan Stanley on May 31 pushed back on that percentage. IBM, for its part, said the layoffs were small.

“First, any layoffs come on the back of IBM’s reported $613 million restructuring announced on the April 17th earnings call – of which, about $100 million related to the Cognitive business division,” according to Morgan Stanley. “IBM management, as recently as the March 8th, 2018 investor day, discussed aggressive hiring in strategic areas, including Oncology within Watson Health.”

“IBM is continuing to reposition our team to align with our focus on the high-value segments of the IT market,” the company said in a statement. “We’re not discussing specific numbers of employees affected, but it’s a small percentage of our global Watson Health workforce, as we move to more technology-intensive offerings, simplified processes and automation to drive speed.”

That said, the cuts appear to run deep enough to affect some of IBM’s stellar acquisitions: Explorys, Phytel, Merge Healthcare and Truven Health Analytics.

IBM announced at HIMSS15, it would be acquiring population health company Phytel and Cleveland Clinic spinoff Explorys, a cloud-based data analytics vendor. Both Phytel and Explorys would become part of IBM’s new Watson Health unit.

IBM officials also announced then, the establishment of IBM Watson Health, a new business unit that would be headquartered in the Boston area, and a new partnership with leading companies, including Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to help optimize consumer and medical devices for data collection, analysis and feedback.

In February 2016, IBM announced it would pay $2.6 billion to acquire Truven Health Analytics for its Watson Health unit. IBM Watson paid $1 billion for Merge in December 2015.

Then in February 2017, MD Anderson, which is part of the University of Texas, ended what had appeared to be a promising partnership with MD Anderson Cancer Center, However, auditors at the University of Texas noted the work cost MD Anderson more than $62 million, without achieveing any of its goals.

With reports suggesting that Big Blue laid off up to 70 percent of the workforce at its Watson Health operation, one former employee wrote on The that

“Watson Health went from 7000 employees to less than 4000 in the last 5 days. All in the Provider business and WH Cloud GONE. The Simpler Provider team will be next month.”



SEIU health workers set to protest potential Kaiser layoffs

Dive Brief:

  • “Thousands of healthcare workers” organized by SEIU-UHW are set to protest from May 1-18 at 33 California hospitals owned by Kaiser Permanente, the union said Friday.  At issue are a variety of announced plans to lay off pharmacy warehouse workers and relocate call center jobs.
  • Kaiser Permanente wrote to Healthcare Dive in an email that the decision to outsource the pharmacy storage and distribution network came after extensive discussions with SEIU-UHW and other unions. The company pointed to the “many regulatory, technological and efficiency challenges we face now and in the future,” as factors that influenced its decision.
  • But Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West argues that the decision is unbecoming of a nonprofit organization that had its profits rise 22% in 2017 with $28 billion in reserves on hand.

Dive Insight:

The protests appear to be the continuation of similar actions earlier this year when SEIU organized protests at 32 hospitals in February and March.

The company recently issued an official notice to lay off 61 pharmacy warehouse workers in Downey, California. According to SEIU-UHW, the company plans to lay off 175 more pharmacy warehouse employees in Oakland, Livermore and Los Angeles and relocate 700 call center jobs to cheaper areas of the state.

The union noted that 55,000 Kaiser Permanente employees in California are members of SEIU-UHW. The national agreement with Kaiser for a broader group of unions expires Sept. 30.

John Nelson, vice president of communications at Kaiser Permanente, called the claims by SEIU-UHW misleading.

“Kaiser Permanente is growing, and we are adding jobs overall. As one of the largest private employers in California with more than 149,000 employees and 16,000 physicians in the state, since 2015, we have added more than 13,000 jobs in California and continue to add jobs with more than 12,000 open staff positions and hundreds of physician positions,” Nelson said in a statement.

It appears that politics may be coming into play. Several elected officials have sent letters including California Democrat Reps. Tony Cardenas, Grace Napolitano, Adam Schiff, Lucille Roybal-Allard and Brad Sherman urging Kaiser Permanente to reconsider its plans.

“It is imperative that Kaiser Permanente continue to flourish by providing quality healthcare to patients while also being a good partner when it comes to job creation which benefits our community,” former California Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin De León wrote in a letter.