Hutcheson Medical Center to cut 75 jobs - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hutcheson Medical Center to cut 75 jobs

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – The troubled Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe announced that it will be laying-off 75 staff members.

Citing a need for "financial stability," the hospital announced Monday that it would be reducing the size of its staff by 75.

Affected employees were given two weeks severance and guidance about career opportunities in the area.

In October 2010, Hutcheson formed a partnership with Erlanger Medical Center in order to keep the failing hospital from closing. The final details of that partnership have yet to be ironed out.

Release from Hutcheson Medical Center:

Experiencing challenging economic times over the last several years, Hutcheson officials announce today a reduction in staff. This comes as the hospital continues to take strategic measures to ensure the hospital's future stability. Approximately 75 staff will be impacted. The elimination will improve productivity to better meet current volumes and increase financial stability to the facility.

In October 2010, the Hutcheson Medical Center Inc. Board of Directors entered into a contract with Community Hospital Corporation (CHC). This organization provided an overall view of the system operations and financial status for viable ways to combat the challenges and offset the financial losses. The outcome of the CHC report allowed the management team with a plan to reduce expenses and improve efficiencies within the hospital system.

"We have worked diligently over the last several months to streamline daily operating expenses while our staff has continued to maintain excellent quality and patient care," said Interim President and CEO Debbie Reeves. "Yet as a result of our current financial state, we had to implement this difficult task of aligning our staffing levels to meet our patient volumes. Our employees have experienced emotional and uncertain times over the last several months, and we have tried many avenues to prevent the implementation of these cuts. We are not alone in these challenges as other hospitals are looking for better measures to be operationally sound while searching for partnership models to be successful."

The Board believes that bringing a larger healthcare institution into a partnership agreement was the most beneficial route for Hutcheson's future. In October 2010, the Board selected Erlanger as a partner and a final agreement is currently being formatted to meet the needs of both parties involved.

"We have made great strides over the past several months and these types of changes are difficult as we are faced with losing valuable employees," states Martha Attaway, Hutcheson Medical Center Inc. Board Chairwoman. "Our mission is to meet the health care needs of our community, and to do that during these times, we must become financially sound."

The employees were notified of the changes and the ones affected by this reduction have been offered a two week severance package including accrued paid time off. Informational meetings will be held to help educate the employees of other career opportunities within the area.

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