On the heels of the departure of Corcoran District Hospital’s chief business officer and head of the hospital’s billing department, 10 lay-offs took place Monday at the financially-strapped facility.
CEO Jonathan Brenn stated in a news release Tuesday afternoon that the Monday lay-offs of 10 staff members took place to achieve additional necessary cost cuts. He said he expects the reduction in force will save hospital personnel expenses approximately $262,000 a year.
Just weeks ago, longtime employees Debbie Bach, the hospital’s CBO, and head of the billing department, Kelly Weems, were both terminated by Brenn. Weems worked directly under the supervision of Bach in the financial department. At least three of the individuals laid off Monday also worked in the billing department. Some of the others worked in the purchasing department.
Brenn said the cuts will not have a negative impact of patient care of the hospital’s ability to accept patients.
“They were support roles which have become unnecessary as the hospital continues to implement its electronic record-keeping system,” Brenn said.
The hospital has invested over a $1 million in the system. Electronic billing was put in place about four years ago, but has not yet been fully implemented by hospital staff, a situation that is being corrected, according to Brenn. Most recently, the hospital spent about $600,000 to install an electronic medical records system that allows nurses and doctors to complete patient records on computer, including all medications and accompanying billing information.
Nonetheless, lay-offs of personnel are very difficult, said Brenn.
“The decisions had to be made to keep our costs in line with our declining reimbursement payments and also to seek a financial return on the district’s significant investment in computerization,” stated Brenn.
Brenn noted that over the past several years, government reimbursement for Medi-Cal and Medicare services have not kept up with costs incurred by the hospital for treating patients.