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Frederick hospital to lay off employees

Sunday - 3/10/2013, 6:00am  ET

Frederick

Memorial Hospital has initiated measures designed to cope with changes in the medical field, including eliminating positions.

"We are notifying a group of employees that we're needing, for a variety of reasons related to downturns in volumes and changing dynamics in health care, that we're going to restructure some positions," the hospital's President and CEO Thomas Kleinhanzl said.

The hospital has set a goal to reduce expenses over time, Kleinhanzl said.

Hospitals nationwide are experiencing challenges due to lower reimbursement, a sluggish economy, and health care reform, Terry O'Malley, the hospital's human resources director, said in an email.

Frederick Memorial Hospital is not immune to these pressures, O'Malley said, and over recent months, FMH has experienced declining revenue and reduced admissions.

"While the hospital remains financially strong, it recently launched an effort to work with hospital leadership and staff to identify methods to reduce a targeted $6 million in operating expenses," O'Malley said.--

While the majority of these reductions have been accomplished through increased efficiency in non-labor areas such as supplies and contract services, O'Malley said it has been necessary to adjust labor expenses in line with decreased patient volume.

"Until recently the hospital has been able to reduce labor through reduction in hours worked, encouraging the use of paid time off, and not filling vacant positions," O'Malley said. "However, we recently announced that a number of individuals at the health system will have their regularly scheduled hours reduced and that some positions would be eliminated."

At this point, O'Malley said he could not say how many employees will be affected, or how many jobs will be lost. He said the hospital has provided the impacted employees 60 days of paid time to explore moving into other positions that are vacant within the system.--

"We believe the majority of individuals impacted will accept new positions within the health system," O'Malley said. "However, if at the end of the 60-day period individuals have been unable to find alternate positions the hospital will provide employees with outplacement assistance and severance payments.

"As the health care landscape continues to change, Frederick Memorial Hospital will have to remain flexible and innovative to continue to provide cost-effective, high quality health care services to our community."