Billing errors leading Ogdensburg’s hospital to cut staff, outsource work

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center
Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center(WWNY)
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 4:27 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center will be cutting roughly 40 employees who do medical billing and coding for the Ogdensburg hospital.

Claxton officials say patient complaints about billing errors have become a “significant concern” over the last couple of years.

“Multiple deficiencies have been identified and remain unresolved, seriously undermining the hospital’s financial position,” the hospital said in a news release.

Officials said administrators have worked for the last 18 months with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the hospital’s revenue cycle team members.

“We have made good-faith efforts to correct what we determined were severe deficiencies in our processes. Despite these and other efforts, our progress was limited,” the hospital said.

Claxton has decided to outsource its revenue cycle functions to an independent professional organization.

Officials said approximately 5% of CHMC’s total workforce will be affected. With 800 employees, that translates to roughly 40 workers.

However, the hospital says the number of employees affected by the change “will evolve in the upcoming days.”

“This was a difficult decision over which we have labored for countless hours,” the hospital said in the news release. “We recognize and understand the emotional and financial challenges this decision will have on impacted employees. However, in performing our duty, we believe that the decision to pursue outsourcing our revenue cycle functions is in the best interest of the hospital and the community it serves. Taking this difficult step will enhance Claxton’s financial performance and work to ensure the hospital’s continued viability and success.”

Officials said the staffing cuts will take place over the next few weeks.

In May, administrators announced they were laying off 4% of their workforce at Claxton-Hepburn and Carthage Area Hospital due to inflation and a decrease in Covid hospitalizations.

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