Rush Hospital cuts back staff by 4 percent

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Amicia Ramsey The largest healthcare organization in the region is reducing its workforce and it affects more than 100 employees.

Rush Health Systems will cut four percent of its staff. According to published reports, it employs 2800 people, which equals 112 positions.

According to a statement provided by Rush administration, these cuts come as a result of decreased reimbursement from patients, especially in governmental health plans such as Medicare and Medicaid. Payroll is the largest expense and it's where adjustments had to be made. This will be done by layoffs, early retirements and by not filling positions.

After hearing about these cutbacks that, some clients saw this is as a huge loss for the employees being laid off and the people receiving care.

"Everybody need their jobs. I think it's heartbreaking," said Juanita Reckley.

Unemployment rates have dropped over the last couple of years. But this could have an effect locally. Mayor Percy Bland is hoping over time to see a recovery.

"When decisions have to be made, especially right now, in the medical field with reimbursements the way that they are, with insurance companies, Medicaid and Medicare, these are the type of decisions that sometimes the CEOs have to make. We know there was a lot of thought made before this decision was made," said Bland.

According to the announcement. The layoffs are a tough decision for Rush, which has been serving this region for the past 100 years. Some clients say they're hoping this doesn't have an effect on services.

"Where will these people that need these services from Rush go to? Are they going to go to another community or another state? You don't know. It is bad," said Debbie Dykes.

“That puts more work on one nurse, or whatever, because they have to stretch their people so it is not fair,” said Eleanor Russell.

Hospital officials refused to comment further or explain other details, like what type of positions will be cut or when the layoffs will go into effect.

According to a statement, Rush Health Systems offered early retirement options and will not fill some positions when they're vacated. And for those who lose their jobs, Rush says it will assist with job placement elsewhere.

The full statement issued by Scott Vincent, Rush Health Systems human resources director, appears below:

“Our health system and all healthcare providers nationwide are facing extreme budgetary challenges as a result of decreased reimbursement from all those who pay us, especially governmental health plans such as Medicare and Medicaid. In order to deal with a shortfall of revenue, we have to dramatically reduce our expenses in order to continue to provide quality care to the people of this region.

Our health system payroll is our largest expense and therefore, must be managed as efficiently as possible. We are going about reducing our payroll expenses by offering an early retirement option, not filling positions as they become open and as a last resort, reduction in staff via a position reduction.

Unfortunately, the present economic climate and situations in our marketplace are causing us to have to make some staff reductions across the health system. Health systems all across the nation are doing the same thing. The percentage of the total employee base being reduced is approximately 4%.

We understand that it is very difficult for anyone to lose their job. Our leadership postponed making staff reductions as long as possible. Every effort has been made to eliminate those positions which will least impact patient care. Our Human Resources Department is working with those whose positions are being eliminated to assist them in finding positions within the health system and within the community.

As the area’s largest non-governmental employer, Rush Health Systems is committed to continuing to provide quality care and service. We owe it to the community we have served for over 100 years to maintain a solid foundation that will overcome the extraordinary financial challenges we are facing today.”