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Wright: Newman Regional Health needs to 'right-size,' be efficient

Staff adjustments and Critical Access designation will help Newman Regional Health's financial situation, according to hospital management.

 

Ten full-time and five part-time employees are being laid off. Five full-time and seven part-time vacancies developing in March will not be filled. Nearly 30 employees at Newman Medical Partners will have their hours reduced from 40 to 36 starting in April.

The plan with the staff adjustments is to save $1 million and possibly have a positive operating margin for the year. During KVOE's 8:05 am newscast Tuesday, CEO Bob Wright said Critical Access designation -- which could come down before the end of this month -- will also help, but there is still need for efficient operations.

Wright says most of the staff adjustments are coming to administrative staff, but he says some support staff are also affected. No additional adjustments are planned, but officials will keep monitoring the situation.

Wright says the hospital has been struggling financially for most of the past five years, largely because of the loss of surgeons and patients.

Total patient volume is up slightly compared to 2013 and hospital leaders are confident the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will grant a Critical Access designation, but revenue is still $800,000 short of budget because Medicare patient volume is down while Medicaid patient volume is up. The hospital is now anticipating a loss of $3.5 million for the year if it took no action.

Monday's announcement follows several staff adjustments the past five years. In 2009, the hospital eliminated three departments, adjusted employee hours and consolidated nursing stations. It also worked with Lyon County commissioners to create a Public Building Commission to lower bonded indebtedness and clear the way for the start of Newman Cardiology and the purchase of an MRI. The hospital also limited equipment purchases and eliminated merit pay increases in 2010 and cut staffing by nearly 20 full-time-equivalent employees in 2012.

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