Boone Hospital Center eliminates jobs

Thursday, June 13, 2013 | 3:39 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Boone Hospital Center announced Wednesday that 13 employees were laid off from their positions and seven more will have their hours reduced, according to a statement from the hospital.

The statement said the cuts were to keep the hospital on strong financial footing amid changes in the health care industry. The hospital said it is responding to smaller inpatient numbers, increased charity care for patients who can't afford their medical bills and less reimbursement from government payments.

Jacob Luecke, media relations manager for the hospital, said the changes were also prompted by a change in demand for what health care services were needed. The hospital focused the layoffs in areas with less demand from patients, Luecke said.

"All of our services will continue to exist as they have, the layoffs haven't changed any areas that we currently provide," he said. "We're just making sure we have the right amount of staff where we need it."

The majority of positions eliminated were nonclinical but also included some leadership and front-line positions, which could include caregivers or assistants.

Hospital management informed the employees who lost their jobs in person on Wednesday.

"This was a difficult decision and was hard news to share with our Boone Hospital family," the statement read. "But we know this decision is critical as we continue our mission of improving the health of the people and communities we serve."

The hospital is hoping to find transfer opportunities to other hospitals for the displaced employees and is also providing 30 days of paid notice and a severance package if they cannot find new jobs.

The Boone Hospital Center layoffs come as part of a larger downsizing across the hospital's parent company BJC Healthcare, which is based in St. Louis. The company, which operates 13 hospitals, announced a total of 160 layoffs that began Wednesday, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.

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