By Michaela Gibson Morris
TUPELO – North Mississippi Health Services has laid off 109 employees – 1.7 percent of its workforce – citing changing conditions in health care.
“The reductions were prompted by the ongoing shift from inpatient to outpatient care, declining government reimbursements and other factors,” said Dr. Mark Williams, chief medical officer.
NMHS currently has 6,190 employees system-wide, with the majority of them employed at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.
The affected employees are being encouraged to look at other opportunities within the system. A career counselor is helping identify transfer opportunities.
The last time the health system had significant layoffs was in the 1980s.
2013 has been a difficult year for hospitals around the country. Through September, hospitals had laid off more than 41,000 workers, according to a report from the national outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. That’s 13 percent more than all of the 2012 cuts in the sector.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville is eliminating 1,300 positions from its 20,000-person workforce.
Memphis-based Baptist Memorial Healthcare laid off 23 managers through its 14-hospital system in August.
Driving the reductions around the country are several factors including declining reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, the federal budget sequestration and shifting demographics.
The Affordable Care Act increases the pressure to reduce costs. Additionally, since Mississippi is one of 26 states that declined to expand Medicaid, hospitals in the state will continue to see a large number of uninsured patients while having to plan for reductions in disproportionate share funding over the next several years.
For the 2012 fiscal year, North Mississippi Health Services provided $101.7 million in charity care, nearly $20 million more than in fiscal year 2011, according to its community report.