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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) – – The MetroHealth System is informing employees of a reduction in force that will result in the elimination of 104 jobs. In addition, 151 vacant positions have been eliminated.

These actions are being taken to reach 2012 budget goals which called for a reduction of 450 positions across the System.

Previously MetroHealth announced the closure of one of its long term care nursing facilities which will result in the elimination of 91 positions. An additional 83 jobs will be eliminated over the next six months through attrition, efficiency improvements and consolidation of operations.

The System also announced that raises for all non-bargaining employees will be deferred until later in 2012 as a way of protecting jobs. The eliminated positions and deferred salary increases are estimated to save $25 million in 2012.

“We understand how difficult this is for the employees who are affected,” President and CEO Mark Moran said. “We are doing everything we can to make their transition manageable.” MetroHealth will provide outplacement services and workshops to help exiting employees find new positions.

These actions respond to mid-year projections that showed MetroHealth could suffer operating losses of $6.3 million in 2011 and $21.1 million in 2012. MetroHealth has performed below budget throughout 2011. Increases in unreimbursed care, a decrease in the County subsidy and reductions in reimbursement from government programs and insurers have caused the shortfall.

“Poverty has increased in Cuyahoga County over the last decade, particularly in the suburbs and this has a dramatic effect on MetroHealth,” said Moran. “Our mission is to provide access to care regardless of ability to pay, and we are meeting our commitment to the County’s residents.” Since 2008, MetroHealth’s service to the uninsured of Cuyahoga County has increased 36 percent. In the first half of 2011, uncompensated visits increased by 8 percent. Total charity care is projected to reach at least $130 million by the end of the year, up $11 million over 2010. No other single institution in Ohio serves a larger percentage of Medicaid and uninsured patients.

“As a county hospital, MetroHealth has to use its resources wisely,” Moran said. “Personnel expenses represent about two-thirds of our operating expense so our financial stability demands that we manage salaries and related costs. At the same time, the clinical leaders of our patient care units ensured that these reductions will not affect the quality or availability of care to our patients.”

“The sustainability of MetroHealth depends on obtaining coverage for the uninsured and moving toward a care delivery model that puts greater emphasis on outpatient services, consistent with national trends” said Moran. MetroHealth is working with the state of Ohio to apply for a Medicaid waiver that will expand health coverage for the uninsured of Cuyahoga County. MetroHealth also recently announced an expansion of its ambulatory network to Middleburg Heights.

MetroHealth currently has 6,360 employees and is the 14th largest employer in Northeast Ohio, according to Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Article Courtesy of WOIO 19 Action News

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