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St. Vincent's HealthCare announces layoffs

Reported by: Alyana Gomez

Contributor: Keith St. Peter
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Updated: 5/25/2013 4:05 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Layoffs are ahead at St. Vincent's HealthCare. The hospital is pointing to declining revenue brought on by the Affordable Care Act and the defeat of Medicaid expansion in the Florida legislature.

The hospital made the announcement in a news release late Friday afternoon, stating "these are challenging times for hospitals."

St. Vincent's HealthCare says it has been hit with a 1-2 punch of health care changes, and it's going to cost some employees their jobs.

"Someone in billing and coding, someone who deals with the press would be in public relations, someone in the staff office who deals with scheduling." All are positions that could be cut according to Dr. Alan Harmon, president-elect of the Florida Medical Association who also practices at St. Vincent's.

St. Vincent's revealed Friday it would have to cut about 1 percent of its 5,000-person workforce, but promised that none of the layoffs would involve "direct patient care positions." The announcement also says many of the positions that will be eliminated are vacant. It promises to give employees that are laid off a chance to apply at St. Vincent's new Clay County facility due to open in October.

The hospital said steep cuts to Medicare reimbursement put in place by the Affordable Care Act, were draining its resources. The hospital also cited the inability of Florida's legislature to pass a Medicaid expansion to make up for the lost funds.

Harmon says hospitals across Florida stand to lose money because of the changes.

"We're talking about somewhere in the range of $60 billion for the state of Florida over 10 years.

In a statement issued tonight, the hospital said: "It is critical we respond to this declining reimbursement so we can provide not only the highest quality care, but also the most efficient care for generations to come.

St. Vincent's full statement

St. Vincent’s HealthCare is a growing, thriving health ministry.  Our increased admission volumes made us the fastest growing health system in Northeast Florida in 2011 and 2012, which allowed us to add more than 550 new jobs within our system.  We are on target to open our Clay County hospital in October and have already begun to hire the nearly 300 associates to staff that facility. Despite all of this, hospitals across the country, including ours, are seeing reduced payment for services while the cost of care continues to increase.  These are challenging times for hospitals.

In 2010, U.S. hospitals agreed to accept cuts in Medicare reimbursement of $155 billion over the next 10 years as part of the Affordable Care Act.  This was agreed to in return for the expansion of coverage for the uninsured. In Florida, that would have meant coverage for more than 1.1 million people who are currently uninsured.  Unfortunately, the Florida legislature was unable to pass legislation to expand Medicaid coverage. These uninsured residents will continue to seek care at hospitals like St. Vincent’s, and the expansion would have provided some payment for a large percentage of those patients.  Without it, we are left with no coverage for the uninsured and reduced payment from Medicare and Medicaid due to the previous Affordable Care Act agreement.

It is critical we respond to this declining reimbursement so we can provide not only the highest quality care, but also the most efficient care for generations to come. In order to do this, we are working to restructure our operating costs, which includes closely evaluating open and existing positions within the organization and eliminating some existing positions.  Although many of those jobs are currently vacant, some are not.  We will work with any associate in an eliminated job to seek an alternative position at   St. Vincent’s Clay County.  We will not be eliminating any direct patient care positions.  Less than 1% of our workforce of 5,000 associates will be directly impacted and we will provide resources to assist those whose skills do not match our needs in Clay County or elsewhere within St. Vincent’s.

Despite these changes, we will actually see a net gain in staffing this year due to the addition of our new Clay County hospital.  Although a small number of individuals will be impacted by this restructuring, we do not take it lightly when it impacts the lives of our associates.  This proactive work is necessary to manage ongoing reimbursement challenges and to innovate toward a more efficient healthcare system.

St. Vincent’s HealthCare

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

educated 1 - 5/25/2013 7:24 PM
1 Vote
This is an excuse because St. VINCENT don't like the president views on abortion,etc if Obama care is such a big imposition why did St. Vincent buy mayo, st Luke and build a hospital in clay county and hire all these CNO's, Director's, really at some point people have to really look at the big picture,I mean really is there any other hospital in Florida doing the same thing, from day one st Vincent has cut positions outsourced jobs and for what, we are not going to question any of these things but I only think we need to be realistic and not point unnecessary finger at anyone.

Fred Thompson - 5/25/2013 12:10 PM
3 Votes
A dilerbrate attempt to disrupt a fine hospital that saved my life back in 1965. This hospital has been a savior for very many people over the generations' this "AFFORDABLE CARE ACT" must be defunded. A tax revolt for 2013 earnings every one should ingage in' GIVE THEM NOTHING IN WASHINGTON DC. They OWE ALL OF US $1'000'000 each in reality of all their squander.All of us!!...Never put someone in power whom does not have any REAL political experance.

nativejax - 5/25/2013 11:29 AM
1 Vote
So? "If its good for the goose"..etc...The d@mn news has been one sided for way to long now with their OUT RIGHT lies and DECEITFUL liberal leftest cover ups.

rry6961 - 5/24/2013 10:11 PM
0 Votes
I just saw this piece on television. what a joke of a news story. this article says less than 3% of it's 5,000 strong workforce will be directly impacted. that's less than 50. On the tv segment, the hospital representative seemed to say that only 3 people would be laid off. how is this news? i don't know how this news story can be viewed as anything but someone at the hospital trying, and failing, to make democrats look bad and either fox 30 news is complicit or incompetent.

tlynn - 5/24/2013 9:47 PM
0 Votes
Read it again….Also the legislatures 'inability' to pass extended Medicaid coverage.

Gunny48 - 5/24/2013 7:39 PM
1 Vote
Not to mention the prez & the politicians who slimed it through have opted out of it - they certainly can't be held to the "standard of care" we now face.

Gunny48 - 5/24/2013 7:36 PM
1 Vote
"Affordable Care Act" - what a travesty and it's just starting...with the IRS in charge of enforcing it!!! Bwahahahahaha....
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