Inter-Lakes Health is eliminating 33 full-time positions. Chip Holmes, Inter-Lakes CEO, announced the personnel cuts Feb. 12.
Inter-Lakes Health is eliminating 33 full-time positions.
Chip Holmes, Inter-Lakes CEO, announced the personnel cuts Feb. 12.
“This is a difficult time for the affected staff and the organization,” Holmes said.
The cuts will have no impact on patient care, he stressed. The hospital’s emergency department will continue to be fully-staffed and operating 24 hours a day.
Inter-Lakes Health includes Moses-Ludington Hospital, Heritage Commons Residential Health Care, Moses-Ludington Adult Care, Inter-Lakes Dental Clinic and Lord Howe Estates. It employs 289 people and is Ticonderoga’s second-largest employer.
Holmes said the cuts are necessary for Inter-Lakes’ long-term financial health. The health care group lost more than $3 million last fiscal year, he said, citing factors such as more outpatient care rather than inpatient care and continued cuts in reimbursement programs.
“The cumulative financial impact of these factors has resulted in a significant drop in revenue,” Holmes said. “ILH lost over $3 million in FY 2013 and the trend is continuing. We have taken all other measures to address this shortfall and, now, very reluctantly, need to reduce staff.”
Thirteen of the cuts are immediate. Those jobs include ancillary and support positions in the hospital and nursing home. The 13 staff members will receive vacation pay, health insurance coverage through March and employment assistance.
Ten positions will be eliminated through attrition and retirements. Those include senior management and frontline positions.
Ten other positions will be converted from full-time to part-time positions. Staff currently employed in those positions will be offered the opportunity to remain in part-time roles.
Holmes said Inter-Lakes has also consolidated units of the nursing home, implemented a hiring freeze, deferred raises, reduced overtime and capped paid-time off and long-term sick hour banks.
“We are engaged in developing a plan to be able to continue to provide appropriate health care services in this community,” he said. “We have a responsibility to provide those services in a way that will be financially sustainable over the long term.”
The national shift to outpatient care has had a significant impact on the hospital, Holmes said. On an average basis, Moses Ludington only has three of its 15 beds occupied, yet must fully operate the hospital and all of its services.
While emergency department utilization remains consistent, the CEO said, the hospital is experiencing a decline in emergency room patients being admitted to Moses-Ludington. More emergency room patients are being transferred to hospitals that provide a more complex level of care.
Nursing home revenues are also down at Inter-Lakes, Holmes said, citing the increasing number of seniors who receive care at home with support from home health care personnel.
Inter-Lakes Health’s nursing home, Heritage Commons, is one of four long-term care facilities that have come together to study how collaborating to share services and maximize benefits of economy of scale may end financial losses at these facilities. The group, called the Blue Line Group, is being funded with a $7.1 million grant from the state.