Hospital mass layoffs matching last year's record levels

Health systems say the economic downturn continues to take its toll.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott — Posted April 5, 2010

Print  |   Email  |   Respond  |   Reprints  |   Like Facebook  |   Share Twitter  |   Tweet Linkedin

The number of mass layoffs at hospitals in the first months of 2010 mirrored 2009, as the economic downturn persisted in straining health system finances.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released March 23, there were 11 mass layoffs at hospitals in February, leading 723 people to claim unemployment benefits. Thirteen incidents occurred in January, involving 995 people.

A mass layoff is defined as at least 50 people losing their jobs from a single institution at the same time.

The BLS recorded 12 mass layoffs in February 2009, affecting 866 people and 13 in January of that year, involving 1,075.

Those at institutions with recent layoffs say increasing demands for charity care combined with reductions in demand for elective services are making this type of cost-cutting necessary.

"Hospitals across the country are experiencing declines in volumes, as people are deferring elective medical procedures because of change in employment status and health insurance coverage," wrote Janice James, transition CEO of Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare in Louisville, Ky., in a March 10 statement announcing the elimination of 500 positions. "Hospitals are also seeing increases in uncompensated care."

Layoffs for March include:

  • Eastern Maine Medical Center laid off 48 employees.
  • Spring Branch Medical Center in Houston laid off 720 and closed inpatient services.
  • Seton Family of Hospitals in Austin, Texas, eliminated approximately 60 positions and reduced the hours of 30 others.

The number of mass layoffs at ambulatory health care centers, a category that includes physician offices, improved slightly, but these data are less telling, because mass layoffs are far less common in this setting.

Five happened in February, with at least 310 people losing their jobs, but four occurred in January, with 216 workers claiming benefits.

Back to top



Read story

Confronting bias against obese patients

Medical educators are starting to raise awareness about how weight-related stigma can impair patient-physician communication and the treatment of obesity. Read story

Read story


American Medical News is ceasing publication after 55 years of serving physicians by keeping them informed of their rapidly changing profession. Read story

Read story

Policing medical practice employees after work

Doctors can try to regulate staff actions outside the office, but they must watch what they try to stamp out and how they do it. Read story

Read story

Diabetes prevention: Set on a course for lifestyle change

The YMCA's evidence-based program is helping prediabetic patients eat right, get active and lose weight. Read story

Read story

Medicaid's muddled preventive care picture

The health system reform law promises no-cost coverage of a lengthy list of screenings and other prevention services, but some beneficiaries still might miss out. Read story

Read story

How to get tax breaks for your medical practice

Federal, state and local governments offer doctors incentives because practices are recognized as economic engines. But physicians must know how and where to find them. Read story

Read story

Advance pay ACOs: A down payment on Medicare's future

Accountable care organizations that pay doctors up-front bring practice improvements, but it's unclear yet if program actuaries will see a return on investment. Read story

Read story

Physician liability: Your team, your legal risk

When health care team members drop the ball, it's often doctors who end up in court. How can physicians improve such care and avoid risks? Read story

  • Stay informed
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • LinkedIn