Rush Health Systems in Meridian, Mississippi said it will eliminate four percent of its staff. Rush employs 2800 people, so a reduction of four percent means 112 employees. The cuts are being done through layoffs, early retirement, and not filling some positions.
The reductions come as a result of decreased reimbursement from patients, especially in government health plans such as “Medicaid” and “Medicare.” This affects payroll, which is the largest expense.
The hospital declined to provide further comment or explain what type of positions are being eliminated or when the layoffs will go into effect. The hospital’s human resources department said it will attempt to find new jobs within the health system and community for those laid off. But as the area’s largest non-government employer, it won’t be within that organization. While unemployment in the county is hovering near five percent, it may not be easy for those laid off to find work in their field of expertise.
“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,” said Scott Vincent, Rush Health Systems’ human resources director. “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.”
Vincent added that, “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%.”
A large number of healthcare systems across Mississippi are facing similar challenges and have had to reduce employment and, in some cases, have had to close their doors.
Richard Roberson, the vice president of policy and state advocacy at the Mississippi Hospital Association, said, “There’s a couple of reasons to reduce workforce. Especially following new movements in Medicaid and Medicare.”
Roberson observed that staffing, because of its significant cost, often decreases in healthcare businesses, especially for hospitals that depend on Medicare and Medicaid payments.
Roberson estimated that in Mississippi, Medicare and Medicaid patients account for 60% of all hospital discharges, making cuts in these government health plans especially difficult on hospital budgets.
“It’s not unusual to see a (workforce) reduction in healthcare (after Medicaid and Medicare changes),” Roberson said. “It’s a ripple effect and hospitals have to adjust.”
“Rush Hospital cuts back staff by 4 percent,” WTOK, June 13, 2017.)
“Unemployment Rate in Lauderdale County, MS,” Federal Reserve of St. Louis, last accessed June 14, 2018.
“Rush to reduce staff by 4 percent, blaming cuts to Medicare, Medicaid,” The Meridian Star, June 13, 2017.