Washington County Health System cutting 36 jobs

May 27, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • The current Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown is seen in this file photo.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County Health System is cutting 36 jobs, or about 1 percent of its work force, President and CEO James P. Hamill said Wednesday.

He said the volume of patients throughout the system has dropped 5 to 10 percent.

The decline over the last four or five months is "a reflection of the economy," which hospitals elsewhere are experiencing, too, Hamill said.

The cuts are to support staff positions across the health system, he said.

Washington County Health System is the parent organization of Washington County Hospital. It also includes Antietam Health Services, Robinwood Medical Center, Home Care Pharmacy and other practices and services.

The health system plans to open a new regional medical center in the Robinwood area at the end of this year. It will replace the current Washington County Hospital on East Antietam Street.

Hamill said the job cuts are not connected to the move to the new medical center.


He said that earlier this year, the health system offered buyouts, which about 95 employees accepted. Some positions will be filled and some will not, he said.

Hamill said the health system also is trying to fill about 50 job vacancies, many of them in nursing.

In a survey of 1,078 community hospital CEOs last year, the American Hospital Association found that nine of every 10 hospitals had made cuts because of economic pressure.

Nearly half had cut staff. Eight in every 10 had cut administrative expenses. One in five had reduced services that required subsidies, such as behavioral health and post acute care, the survey says.

Even with the cuts, seven in 10 hospitals reported declining financial health that would affect their ability to provide care, according to the survey.

From 2008 to 2009, 41 percent of responding hospitals had a moderate decrease in elective procedures, which are scheduled in advance, and 18 percent had a significant decrease.

Thirty-eight percent had a moderate decrease in inpatient admissions and 17 percent had a significant decrease.

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