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.


Puerto Rico’s Dire Health-Care Crisis

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It’s been two months since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, but nearly 10 percent of the island’s 3.4 million residents still don’t have access to clean, safe water. Half of the electric grid is still out of service, which has made it difficult to safely store food or medicines that need to be refrigerated. The outages have also left many residents vulnerable to heat exposure; temperatures remain in the high 80s on the island.

There’s also growing concern that Puerto Rico’s Medicaid program — which covers nearly half of Puerto Ricans — will soon run out of money to pay doctors and hospitals. The territory’s governor has asked the Trump administration to waive Puerto Rico’s share of Medicaid costs, and some Democratic senators have made similar appeals.



CHS reports $110M net loss, completes 30-hospital divestiture spree

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Community Health Systems, a 127-hospital chain based in Franklin, Tenn., posted a net loss of $110 million in the third quarter of 2017, compared to a net loss of $79 million in the same period of the year prior.

CHS said revenues dipped to $3.67 billion in the third quarter of this year, down from $4.38 billion in the same period of 2016. The decrease in revenue was attributable, in part, to lower patient volume. On a same-facility basis, admissions were down 14.8 percent in the third quarter of this year. When adjusted for outpatient activity, admissions decreased 15.5 percent year over year.

The company’s financials also took a $40 million hit from hurricanes Harvey and Irma in the three months ended Sept. 30. CHS said the hurricanes caused it to incur additional expenses and miss out on revenues.

Although CHS’ operating expenses declined in the third quarter, one-time charges took a toll on the company’s bottom line. CHS said its third quarter financial results included $33 million in impairment charges and losses related to the sale of some of its hospitals.

To improve its finances and reduce its heavy debt load, CHS put a turnaround plan into place in 2016. As part of the initiative, the company announced plans this year to sell off 30 hospitals. With the sale this week of Highlands Regional Medical Center in Sebring, Fla., and Merit Health Northwest Mississippi in Clarksdale, CHS Chairman and CEO Wayne T. Smith said Wednesday the 30 hospital divestitures are complete.

“Looking forward, we remain focused on strategic initiatives that we believe will yield positive results in the future,” said Mr. Smith. “Our goal is to emerge from this process with a sustainable group of hospitals that are positioned for long-term success and growth.”

CHS brought down its long-term debt load to $13.9 billion in the third quarter of this year, from $14.8 billion in the same period of 2016.

HCA’s net income tumbles to $426M in Q3

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Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare, which operates more than 170 hospitals, saw revenue increase in the third quarter of 2017, but the company’s net income declined year over year.

HCA’s financial results were in line with the third quarter preview the company issued in October. HCA ended the third quarter of this year with net income of $426 million on revenues of $10.7 billion. That’s compared to the same period of 2016, when the company recorded net income of $618 million on revenues of $10.3 billion.

On an earnings call Tuesday, HCA Chairman and CEO R. Milton Johnson said the company took an estimated $140 million hit from hurricanes Irma and Harvey. HCA has a total of 18 hospital campuses, eight freestanding emergency rooms, five surgery centers and one freestanding cancer center in the Houston and Corpus Christi, Texas, markets, which were two areas significantly impacted by Hurricane Harvey. The company has 50 hospital campuses, 32 surgery centers, 17 freestanding ERs and 10 diagnostic imaging centers in Florida, where several facilities felt the impact of Hurricane Irma.

The Texas Medicaid Waiver program also took a toll on HCA finances. The company said it took a $50 million hit related to the program in the third quarter of this year.

Mr. Johnson said the hurricanes and the Texas Medicaid waiver reduction make evaluating the third quarter results more complex. “However, if you look at the broad trends to normalize with the destruction in the hurricane affected markets, we believe many of the trends are comparable with the first half of 2017,” he said.

In addition to releasing its third quarter financial results, HCA announced the board approved a new $2 billion share repurchase program. Including this newly announced program and the company’s share repurchase program announced in November 2016, HCA has approximately $2.15 billion authorized for share repurchases.