IU Health to cut 800 jobs

Layoffs might be sign of future health care cuts

INDIANAPOLIS - IU Health will eliminate approximately 800 positions through layoffs and early retirement, the company announced Thursday.

Read: Email sent to staff  (http://bit.ly/15ZlYCT)

"We have incredible teammates. What we've had to look at is where are the right number of staff members and the right number of positions to care for patients that we need to provide the best level of care. But where do we see care changing. So we may have to adapt the number of positions in certain areas to be able to change in other areas," Riley Hospital for Children President and CEO Jeff Sperring said.

The cuts will come from seven IU Health properties including Methodist, University, Riley, North, Saxony, Tipton and Ball Memorial.

According to an email sent to staff , workers will find out in October if they'll be one of the 800.

"We didn't want to come in an abrupt manner doing this. We're giving our teammates who are affected by this, as well as the vast majority of people who will still be here, time to adjust to this in hopefully a compassionate fashion," Methodist Hospital President Jim Terwilliger said.

IU Health will be offering an early retirement option to eligible staff members "to minimize the number of team members affected by this workforce reduction," the letter said.

The employees who are cut will likely work their last day around Dec. 1.

One prominent central Indiana economist said the days of a health career being the ticket to a good-paying, secure job are over.

University of Indianapolis Professor Matthew Will blames this and other layoffs on lowered payments to hospitals by the government. 

Will said hospitals are forced to react by cutting costs, and that makes employees vulnerable.

"This industry is completely changing. The reimbursement schedule is changing. The cost structure is not. So you're gonna have to somehow adapt, and the way they adapt is to cut expenses," Will said.

Will said direct care people such as doctors, nurses and therapists will continue to thrive. Other hospital workers could face long-term or permanent unemployment as their employers continue to cut costs.

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