Hartford HealthCare Announces 350 Layoffs

Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014  |  Updated 6:56 AM EDT
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Hartford HealthCare Announces 350 Layoffs

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BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 05: A doctor holds a stethoscope on September 5, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Doctors in the country are demanding higher payments from health insurance companies (Krankenkassen). Over 20 doctors' associations are expected to hold a vote this week over possible strikes and temporary closings of their practices if assurances that a requested additional annual increase of 3.5 billion euros (4,390,475,550 USD) in payments are not provided. The Kassenaerztlichen Bundesvereinigung (KBV), the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, unexpectedly broke off talks with the health insurance companies on Monday. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Hartford HealthCare will be eliminating about 350 jobs during the next month, according to a Monday letter to staff from the organization's chief operating officer.

The decision is part of Hartford HealthCare's efforts to be proactive in meeting a national mandate to make health care more affordable while adjusting to reductions in government funding, according to Hartford HealthCare officials.

"Senior leadership team members, including the regional presidents, have come to this difficult decision because of the absolute necessity to protect our organization’s financial strength," Jeff Flaks, chief operating officer for Hartford HealthCare, wrote in a letter to company employees. "That strength comes, in part, from a solid financial foundation. We are focused on creating a more cost-efficient organization. We have reduced and targeted more than $200 million in nonstaff costs through HHC Thrive and other initiatives. However, we have to ensure that our staff size is appropriate to our patient volumes and the current economic conditions."

Hartford HealthCare has spent the last year working to become more efficient and cut costs in efforts to make health care more affordable and needs to reduce spending further to continue on the path of savings, according to a statement from Hartford HealthCare.

"Realistically, workforce reductions – such as the one announced today – are included," Hartford HealthCare officials said in a statement. "We are working to build a system that is engineered to deliver care more affordably. This includes investments in ambulatory centers, in technology – such as our enterprise-wide electronic medical record. We are also creating strategic partnerships, providing our patients with greater access to highest quality of care. Examples include our Cancer Institute’s membership in the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Alliance, and our clinical affiliation with CVS Caremark."

Federal funding for hospitals is expected to decline by 25 percent at most by 2020, according to Flaks. Officials said that while times are difficult for hospitals in Connecticut and nationwide, the organization wants to remain dedicated to patients.

Flaks recognized the contributions of the employees whose positions will be eliminated and said Hartford HealthCare leadership will "provide departing colleagues with appropriate support and assistance."

"I have asked senior leaders to move swiftly to ensure that the period of uncertainty for staffs will be as short as possible," he said.

He praised Hartford HealthCare's growth in primary care and ambulance networks and said the organization needs to cut costs while investing in technology, facility and new health care roles in order to succeed.

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