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Prisma Health laying off 327 from workforce

Staff Report //January 16, 2020//

Prisma Health laying off 327 from workforce

Staff Report //January 16, 2020//

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Prisma Health is planning layoffs affecting 327 employees throughout the system. The organization has a workforce of about 32,000 and had already eliminated 200 positions since Oct. 1 through “attrition, vacancies and consolidation” to lower the total number of positions by 527, according to a news release.

“The 327 team members will be notified beginning today that their positions are being eliminated,” the news release said. “Areas affected span the organization, including administrative, corporate and clinical areas across all campuses. Prisma Health is providing the affected team members with severance pay and outplacement services.”

Staff who lose their jobs will be able to apply for other open positions at Prisma Health, the news release said.

Prisma Health was formed a little more than two years ago by combining Greenville Health System in the Upstate with Palmetto Health in the Midlands. Until a year ago, the combined health system was overseen by a pair co-CEOs, but those two jobs were phased out when the board chose a new CEO and established headquarters in Greenville. From the beginning, the new organization’s messaging talked about efficiencies, streamlining and economies of scale as central advantages.

“The health care environment in which we operate is becoming increasingly challenging for a variety of reasons, including lower reimbursements and increasing numbers of patients who are underinsured or uninsured,” Mark O’Halla, president and CEO, said in the release.

“When we formed Prisma Health 26 months ago, we began integrating and consolidating functions to gain the benefits of scale and to remove costs from the organization,” he said in the release. “We have already eliminated duplicative executive management positions, restructured leadership, and gained significant cost savings in supplies, technology and other areas. We are taking steps to ensure that everything we are doing — both clinical and nonclinical — is delivering quality and value. As part of this ongoing work, we have identified a number of additional expense-reduction strategies, many of which impact our workforce.”

Additional changes to select services include Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital’s 15-bed subacute unit, which will be phased out in March, and the Children’s Residential Program in Greenville, which will be phased out in April.

The Children’s Residential Program provides behavioral and mental health care for patients age 6-12, according to the Prisma Health website.

A hospital representative said the unit was chosen for elimination as a result of “very low occupancy” and because other services are available in the area to serve those patients.

“While the Children’s Residential Program has provided outstanding care for many years and has transformed the lives of children in our region and beyond, reimbursement challenges, the subscale size of the condition of the facility has resulted in the decision to phase out the program,” Prisma said in a separate statement.

“These are difficult decisions, but we need to make them now so we can provide the quality care our patients deserve in a financially sustainable manner that positions us for future growth opportunities,” O’Halla said in the release.

“We’re committed to building a stronger organization, where patients will experience consistent, high-quality care, regardless of which Prisma Health location they choose for care,” O’Halla said in the release. “At Prisma Health, the patient is at the center of everything we do. While we remain fundamentally solid, we will continue to streamline the organization and make it more efficient, while also making investments in growth and expansion to meet the evolving needs of our patients and the communities we serve. This is the new normal for us and all other successful health care organizations.”