Economy
4:27 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Another Round of Job Cuts at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

For the second time in two years, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is reducing its workforce.

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is cutting 350 positions in clinical support, administration and management. All will get benefits, a severance package and some are getting employment assistance at other health facilities.
Credit Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Over the next month, 350 employees will be laid off from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Most of them work in clinical support, administration and management. Dr. John McConnell, chief executive officer at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, says "With automation and improved process design, as has happened in every other industry in America, you can do this." 

He explains the job cuts are part of a restructuring effort the medical center started in 2012 to close the gap between growing expenses and declining revenue sources, including reimbursement from federal and state health insurance. "The net result of the Affordable Care Act is a substantial reduction in reimbursement for the services we provide," says Dr. McConnell. "Between 2011 and projecting out to 2016 you're looking at as much as a 10 percent to 15 percent reduction in revenue and on top of that you've got normal inflation. That's a pretty big gap over a 5 year period."

Dr. McConnell says no doctors or nurses who provide direct patient care are being released. The Medical Center employs approximately 14,686 faculty and staff at all of its locations. This is the second round of job cuts across the Baptist medical system. In November 2013, 420 employees were let go while 530 positions were allowed to stay vacant.

According to Dr. McConnell, despite the job cuts, automation and innovative procedures have helped the medical center stream-line several operations in order to ensure quality medical care is provided. These changes are also enabling Baptist to offer some new services. "We're actually expanding outpatient programs and research programs and, even with this reduction, we still have several hundred positions of high priority in the medical center that need to be filled," explains McConnell. "So this is not producing a lot of savings. Like any prudent business as we increase that level of benefit, we've got to make sure our cost structure is in line with that strategy and that's really what we're doing."

Employees being released will get 45 days of paid notice with health benefits, a severance package based on their years of service and the medical center is helping some gain employment at other area medical facilities.

Dr. John McConnell explains why more jobs are being cut from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.