By Dewey Terrill
Geary Community Hospital officials laid off 22 members of the hospital workforce on Thursday.
That information was confirmed by Hospital CEO Joe Stratton, who noted GCH has struggled financially for approximately two-and-a-half to three years. “This last winter and spring we went through an operational assessment with a company called Community Hospital Corporation. ”
Stratton said there was a lot of study within that assessment. “And then we also had to face the fact with their findings and recommendations some of what we already knew, that we were overstaffed if you will in comparison to our volumes. When you look at the payroll we were paying versus the volume and productivity we had to face the reality unfortunately, and humbly, that we just can’t continue like we have in the past.”
Stratton noted that there’s no question the employees are the heart and soul of the hospitaL and the clinics, but in the healthcare business it’s also the largest expense. GCH is trying to bring back into alignment labor expenses with volume and revenue going forward. He confirmed the employee layoffs are effective now, as of Thursday.
Stratton stated the hospital will start to work on other components of the operation at Geary Community going forward.
Following the layoffs there are approximately 320 employees remaining on the staff. The positions eliminated were across the board in many departments, both clinical and non-clinical, said Stratton. ” We had very few registered nurses and LPN’s out of the reduction in force that were affected, but after that it was really system-wide. It wasn’t concentrated in any one or two departments, particularly.”
Stratton confirmed that officials believe the hospital can continue provide the same quality care and medical services that currently exist. He does not expect any more layoffs, and said it’s not in their plan or thinking. The 22 workers laid off total 7% of the hospital workforce.
Financial pressures on the hospital have ranged from dwindling insurance reimbursements and uncollectible debt from uninsured patients to high deductible insurance plans, the buildup of local military medical services and the lack of medicaid expansion in Kansas.
Geary Community Hospital officials announced employee layoffs on Thursday.
Geary Community Hospital has reduced its’ employed workforce by 22 workers, which is 7% of its’ employed workforce. This choice was necessary after the completion of an operational assessment this past spring, which focused on productivity of both clinical and nonclinical departments. The study showed a need to decrease the numbers of employees to better control labor cost and aid in the improvement of financial performance according to Joe Stratton, GCH administrator.
Stratton said, “These are trying times in healthcare today and GCH is no exception, so we have to humbly admit we cannot continue to operate as in the past. We must find new ways to meet the challenges of healthcare tomorrow, and yes, unfortunately job cuts are part of the plan at this time.” He added, “GCH does not intend to change medical services with this new strategy and fully intends to keep quality healthcare local.”
GCH has been experiencing notable pressures within the healthcare industry, whether it be from the federal, state, or regional levels. Dwindling insurance reimbursements, uncollectible debt from uninsured patients, high deductibles insurance plans, the buildup of local military medical services, and the lack of Medicaid Expansion in Kansas have all compounded the challenges at the hospital over the past three years.