Thursday, September 13, 2001

Mercy Health Partners eliminates 325 positions

Medical system takes final step of $50 million turnaround plan

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Mercy Health Partners on Wednesday announced it has eliminated 325 jobs, about 6 percent of its work force, in the final step of a $50 million turnaround plan.

        The cuts, expected to save about $12 million a year in personnel expenses, include 217 people and 108 vacant positions. At least 20 jobs involve management positions, but none of the cuts involved bedside nurses, who are in short supply throughout the Tristate.

        “This is one of the things we needed to do to right the ship,” said David Jimenez, interim president and chief executive of Mercy Health Partners. “We're now in a pretty good position to move next year solidly into the black.”

        The Mercy system includes more than 5,000 employees who generate about $800 million a year in revenue at five hospitals, four nursing homes, wellness centers, home health care and several other health services.

        In May, Mercy reported nearly $52 million in operating losses for 2000, which resulted in a management shake-up. Since then, Mercy has been renegotiating managed care contracts and has closed its hospital in Hamilton and a psychiatric wing in Mount Airy. It also has sold an ambulance service, a medical equipment business and six medical offices.

        Given one-time costs involved, such as severance packages for terminated employees, the budget-cutting moves are not expected to allow Mercy to break even in 2001. Instead, its goal is to hit a 2 percent operating margin in 2002, Mr. Jimenez said.


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