Hartford HealthCare to eliminate over 300 full-time jobs [WFSB]

June 18, 2015

HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Hartford HealthCare announced on Wednesday that there will be staffing reductions happening throughout its system.

The company said it will eliminate about 335 full-time positions, which will affect 418 staff members throughout the system, a press release said.

Officials claim the staff reductions are necessary because of the huge cuts to state and federal Medicaid reimbursements.

Hartford HealthCare COO Jeffrey Flaks said the budget the state recently passed is particularly problematic because it will cut their state Medicaid payments by $100 million over five years.

On Tuesday, at the ribbon cutting for the healthcare system’s new cancer center, CEO Elliott Joseph seemed to warm this day was coming as he complained about the state budget.

“The last thing I want to mention this morning before I give up the podium and the microphone is a reminder about the difficult times the state of Connecticut is in…and the challenges our state budget… that there’s no easy answers for… and the difficult decisions that are being made.. with choices none of which are good,” he said. “It’s a spiral. We’re pledged at Hartford Healthcare to work our way out of it…but boy oh boy is it hard to do.”

Hartford HealthCare said it is reviewing changes, like consolidations and reductions, to some programs and services to help lower costs.

It is unclear exactly what types of jobs are getting cut.

Employees at Hartford Hospital said they feel that politics and money are threatening their jobs and potentially the effectiveness of healthcare throughout the state.

“I love working here, I love people,” said Roger Williams, who said he feels like his nursing aid position is pretty close to perfect. “Hartford Hospital has been a great hospital. I have nothing bad to say about our hospital.”

He added that after this announcement, “everybody is up in arms trying to figure out who particularly is going to be laid off.”

Williams is about one year away from retirement, but even with all of his experience working at the hospital, he said he has one piece of advice for his friends.

“Pray, just pray that you keep your job,” he said.

Officials said the cuts will include people from every level of the company.

Hartford HealthCare is now the only medical giant making cuts they said are due to the new state budget.

“This is significant. Hartford HealthCare is a true economic engine for our regions and our entire state,” Flaks said. “Besides being the largest employers in many of our towns, our projects provide substantial private capital investments for many of our communities. The goods and services we purchase – many in our state – create a demonstrable positive economic impact. Our community benefits investments support vital efforts to improve the quality of life.”

A statement from Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office said “This is a challenging budget year where difficult, often unpopular, choices were absolutely necessary. As the state has to find new efficiencies to meet the challenging budget, the hospital industry will also have to find efficiencies to meet the changing industry.”

The statement continued to say “last year, the hospital industry did have one of its most profitable and lucrative years. The bottom line is with this budget, we are working to transform Connecticut’s transportation system and provide property tax relief for middle class families, and we’re ensuring that those who should pay their fair share contribute to Connecticut and its long-term future.”

The Yale-New Haven system recently announced plans to close three clinics and lay off as many as 31 people, although some of those people may be reassigned.

“The budget passed by the legislature does not only hurt big businesses. Clearly, it targets our middle class and it also takes major aim at health care,” said Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven). “Raising taxes on our hospitals and lowering Medicaid reimbursements are two major hits that together will cripple many small hospitals in our state. The effect is broad and can now be seen on large health organizations as well.”