Health & Spirit

30,000 people work at UNC Health Care; its potential partner is cutting jobs

John Murawski, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.) on

Published in Health & Fitness

Wolf said UNC Health Care started its own strategic plan three years ago, dubbed Carolina Value, to boost revenue and squeeze efficiencies from operations. UNC achieved $300 million in annual savings without layoffs, he said. UNC doesn't attempt to meet a specific labor-to-revenue ratio, like many other hospitals do, Wolf added.

The hospital industry is in the midst of a major consolidation wave as hospital administrators contend with shrinking Medicaid reimbursements and federal penalties for excessive hospital readmissions and failures to meet other federal performance targets.

Daughtry said the question of corporate control covers much more than staffing. He said it will determine how the organizations spend a potential $50 million on rural health care, among many other decisions.

Atrium told Beckers Hospital Review, a trade publication, that its goal is to eliminate jobs through attrition and not filling vacancies. Of the 90 employees laid off, eight were in clinical roles and 82 in non-clinical roles, including the cabling department that handled low-voltage cabling installations. Some employees had their hours reduced and others may be limited on overtime.

Atrium continues to hire new workers as it streamlines other operations and expects its total workforce to be larger in 2020 than it is today.

A combination between Atrium and UNC Health Care would create one of the nation's largest hospital networks, numbering some 90,000 employees and about 60 hospitals. Integrating the two workforces and combining corporate cultures remains a significant challenge.

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"It's one of the many issues, when you look at integrating two companies," said Atrium spokesman Chris Berger. "This is how you run a business, whether you're in banking or in health care or wherever."Berger said strategic planning is essential "so we can continue to survive in today's world."

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