Health Care

Fifty-five workers affected by Hutchinson hospital layoffs

Hutchinson Regional Medical Center said Monday that it has laid off 44 full-time and 11 part-time employees as the hospital in Reno County’s largest city looks to trim expenses.

The hospital said in a news release Monday that it’s the second time in about a year that it has reduced its work force. It said it laid off a similar number of employees in March 2011.

“Layoffs are never easy but the hospital has been losing money,” said Bruce Buchanan, chairman of the hospital’s board of directors, in the news release. “We have to make some changes that will allow us to improve the bottom line at a time of great uncertainty in health care.”

The hospital has 1,088 full- and part-time employees.

The hospital said it had a $5.54 million loss in its 2011 fiscal year ended June 30. It said its workforce since then has been reduced through attrition. Those cuts and other expense actions have led to the hospital “running a modest profit for its 2012 fiscal year,” it said.

The hospital said this most recent layoff follows its use of a benchmarking tool called Action O-I, comparing its staffing with more than 750 health care institutions from across the country.

The hospital used that system to compare areas where it had too many and too few staff.

“While it’s extremely difficult to lay off employees, the long-term financial sustainability of the hospital depends on our being fiscally prudent,” Kevin Miller, Hutchinson Regional CEO, said in the release. “With reduced reimbursement rates, growing expenses and increased competition, we simply can’t continue to over-staff our departments.”

The hospital did not specify where the layoffs occurred or identify the positions affected. It said “reductions have occurred at all levels throughout the organization.”