Officials at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem announced Wednesday theyre eliminating 950 full-time positions, or 7 percent of the workforce.
More than 400 positions have already been eliminated through attrition and retirement since the spring. Another 475 will be cut by the end of June.
The cuts are part of a plan to reduce expenses and prepare for a future in which industry experts predict a 10 percent decline in reimbursement from the government and private insurers, said Dr. John McConnell, the medical centers CEO.
McConnell said the reductions were not prompted by financial distress.
We actually began planning for this early last spring after nine consecutive quarters of financial growth. The medical center, which includes three hospitals and a medical school, has a combined operating margin of 2.3 percent, he said.
Since April, McConnell said hes held town-hall meetings with employees to explain the coming changes. This was a pre-emptive move. We know these reductions will occur And we have to be responsive to whats going on. The best way to do that is to do everything we can to reduce our overhead.
Two-thirds of the cuts were among health care workers, such as laboratory and radiology technicians, medical office assistants, clerical workers and contract nurses. Only a handful of full-time nursing positions were eliminated, McConnell said. The rest are coming from administration.
McConnell said the reductions have been accompanied by system improvements so that the nurse/patient ratio and quality of care will not be affected.
The positions that were reduced in the hospital environment were reduced earlier in the year, and our quality continues to go up, McConnell said.