St. James hospitals, health centers face layoffs
By Casey Toner ctoner@southtownstarcom September 23, 2013 11:04PM
St. James Hospital in Chicago Heights | Supplied photo
Updated: October 25, 2013 6:27AM
St. James hospitals and health centers in Olympia Fields and Chicago Heights are laying off 125 workers as hospital inpatient admissions continue to decline.
The total represents about 6 percent of the hospital network’s Illinois workforce and includes service workers, ancillary workers and clinicians at the company’s two hospitals and numerous support sites.
Effective Monday, the layoff is expected to save the hospital about $15 million annually.
Seth Warren, president of Franciscan St. James Health and Regional CEO of Franciscan Alliance’s South Suburban Chicago Region, said in a company press release that the cuts are a “reflection of what’s happening in health care.”
Warren said that the Affordable Health Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, reduces federal medicare payments to hospitals with high inpatient readmission rates. To reduce its own admission rates, the hospital is working with local physicians to coordinate its care, moving its billing to an electronic system, and giving the patients the services they need so they won’t have to go to the emergency room, which can be costly and wasteful.
“It is forcing the health care providers to address patients’ health care proactively versus waiting,” Warren said. “Historically we took care of patients when they came into the hospital and now we are working across the continuum of care. It’s forcing health care providers to work together.”