Via Christi announces workforce reduction details for Manhattan hospital

Via Christi Health has begun reducing its workforce by approximately 360 positions — a move that will affect approximately 230 full- and part-time workers statewide whose positions are being eliminated. The remainder of the reductions will come from recently vacated positions that will not be filled and thus no individual will be losing his or her position.
“This is an extremely difficult undertaking as these staff members have made valuable contributions to Via Christi during their careers in our ministry,” said Jeff Korsmo, Via Christi Health’s president and chief executive officer. “Unfortunately, these changes are necessary and likely will be the first of a number of changes that we will have to make to put ourselves back into a position of mission-sustaining financial performance.”
Nearly half of the positions being eliminated are in management, administrative or non-clinical support roles and 80 percent of the reductions are positions other than bedside nursing in Via Christi’s acute-care hospitals.
Seventy-eight percent of the position reductions are being made in Wichita, 16 percent in Pittsburg and 6 percent in Manhattan.
Via Christi began notifying affected staff members last Friday and expects to finish these conversations by Monday, June 10. Additionally, as was said when the need for this reduction was announced last month, senior leaders will be taking a salary reduction of about 4 percent.
Via Christi Health, like other health care organizations nationwide, is experiencing financial challenges as a result of declining hospital and physician visit volumes.
Despite performance improvement initiatives designed to reduce costs, with less than two months left in its fiscal year, Via Christi was approximately $18 million below budget. While not operating at a loss, its year-to-date operating margin as of April 30 was 0.1 percent, which Korsmo said was a fraction of the 3 to 4 percent operating margin needed to sustain its mission in the long term.
“After three consecutive months of volume shortfalls, we believe we must assume that our volumes will not bounce back in the short term,” he said, adding that immediate action was needed if Via Christi was to achieve the modest 1.5 percent operating margin that was budgeted for 2014.
While Via Christi is working to reduce its costs, he said, it will need to continue to invest in its future.

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