Washington Hospital Healthcare System to eliminate 68 positions

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The Washington Hospital Healthcare System plans to eliminate 68 positions this month, president and CEO Gary Weinstein told employees in a memo.

Citing a drop of 1,000 hospital admissions in the past year, and an expected $2 million reduction in Medicare payments due to the federal sequestration, "We're taking some necessary but difficult steps to ensure that Washington Health System can continue to achieve its mission of great patient care into the future," he wrote.

Some of the eliminated positions are currently vacant, but Mr. Weinstein's memo said about 25 employees are being told this week they will be laid off.

The health system did not specify which departments would see layoffs.

The memo, sent Monday, said the health system needs to maintain an operating margin of at least 2 percent to be able to buy state-of-the-art clinical equipment, keep facilities up to date, pay competitive wages and offer medical services for the community.

The most recent analysis by the independent Health Care Cost Containment Council showed Washington Hospital had a 3.34 percent operating margin in fiscal year 2012, down from 6.08 percent the year before.

"Unfortunately, at this time, the new Medicare (sequestration) cutbacks and the continued drop in admissions requires us to move more quickly than attrition will allow in order in order to keep our financial house in order," Mr. Weinstein wrote.

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Steve Twedt: stwedt@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1963. First Published June 5, 2013 11:15 AM


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