Hennepin County Board Approves HCMC’s Plan To Cut Up To 275 Jobs

Hennepin County Board Approves HCMC’s Plan To Cut Up To 275 Jobs

The hospital system is hoping to balance its budget after facing a more than $20.3 million loss this year and potentially a nearly $24 million loss in 2017.

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners gave approval on Tuesday for Hennepin County Medical Center’s 2017 budget, which ultimately reaffirmed the hospital system’s plan to cut jobs early next year.

As staffing costs and medical equipment prices have risen and public reimbursement support has been on the decline, HCMC said it would eliminate as many as 275 full-time workers across its multiple facilities.

It still is not known where the cuts will occur, but layoffs are said to allow the Minneapolis-based hospital system to keep construction of its new $224 million Ambulatory Outpatient Specialty Center on track for a 2018 open, according to the Associated Press.

However, HCMC spokeswoman Christine Hill told TCB this is untrue and that there is no relationship between the Ambulatory Outpatient Specialty Center and the job cuts. “The new building and helistop are financed through the sale of bonds, so neither project depended on operating revenues in 2016 or 2017,” she said. “Debt service on the bonds will begin to be paid in 2018.”

Moreover, the new Ambulatory Outpatient Specialty Center will allow HCMC to focus its outpatient services—which are currently spread across upwards of 40 clinics—into one building, Hill added. “Consolidating these into one location will improve the experience for patients and the staff,” she said, as well as simplify an otherwise expensive and inefficient system.

According to HCMC’s balance sheet submitted for Tuesday’s County Board meeting, the hospital system is facing losses totaling approximately $20.3 million this year. In 2017, after a restructuring charge, HCMC expects its annual loss to grow to nearly $24 million.

To counterbalance some of those losses, the Hennepin County Board approved HCMC’s request to receive an additional $4 million in public funding for uncompensated care, or for services provided to individuals who are either unable or unwilling to pay.

HCMC is expected to provide detailed layoff plans between mid- to late-January. The hospital system currently employs over 6,800 people.