Feedback: SMC To Cut Jobs Because Of Healthcare Reform

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Healthcare reform will cost 23 people their jobs at Samaritan Medical Center.

The Watertown hospital announced a workforce restructuring plan Tuesday.

SMC said the plan will help it  prepare for changes resulting from healthcare reform.

"These changes, which focus on treating patients at the appropriate level of care, are causing a shift from inpatient hospital stays to community-based healthcare that relies on the full continuum of care, such as primary care, outpatient care and long-term care," the hospital said in a news release.

According to SMC, its inpatient admissions are down at the hospital, and there is more demand for services in the long-term care setting as a result of healthcare reform mandates.

"We're down about 200 discharges, so that means approximately 200 people less being admitted to the hospital than last year," said hospital spokesperson Krista Kittle.

Reduced numbers numbers mean reduced revenue.

In fact, officials say the projected revenue for June was off $2.2 million.

That is why the hospital is laying off 23 employees from a variety of departments, including nursing and radiology.

"A proactive approach to addressing the challenges that we're facing today as a result of healthcare reform," said Kittle.

Here's how the restructuring plan works:

- Approximately 42 staff members will be reassigned into other available jobs within the organization that are currently vacant.

- The workforce will be reduced by 23 staff members through layoffs.  Six management positions and 17 non-management positions are being eliminated.

SMC said affected employees will be notified over the next three days.

Officials say so-called "Obama Care" has actually put an emphasis on out-patient treatment.

That means fewer patients are staying and paying for care.

Samaritan CEO Tom Carman says health care reform is "forcing all hospitals to look at ways to reduce cost while still maintaining a high quality of care."

While 23 jobs being cut is bad, officials say without places like Samaritan Keep Home and Samaritan Summit Village, things could have been worse.

Another 42 more employees avoided being laid off by moving from the hospital to one of the two nursing homes in Watertown.

See SMC's news release

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016
, Watertown, NY

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