WakeMed, the largest private employer in Wake County, plans to eliminate 85 positions next month as the hospital system continues to cut costs during the recession.
In April, WakeMed CEO Bill Atkinson warned employees that increasing numbers of uninsured patients and shrinking reimbursement were forcing the Raleigh-based system to freeze pay and reduce other benefits. At the time, officials said those cost-cutting steps would help avoid layoffs.
But looking ahead to its 2010 fiscal year, WakeMed is bracing for tougher times. The system will receive $35 million less in reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, Atkinson wrote in a memo to employees today.
"We were able to offset some of those losses with additional cuts to departmental budgets and by curtailing, for example, much of what we spend in general marketing, advertising, and on non-clinical equipment and expenses," he wrote. "Some of the offset, however, inevitably must come from the steps we are taking today to slightly reduce our workforce numbers."
More than a third of the 85 workers are vice presidents, directors and managers. Some will have the opportunity to apply for other assignments. The affected workers will be notified by Sept. 3.
WakeMed employs more than 7,500 at its main Raleigh campus, and at medical facilities throughout Wake County.
The cost cuts come as the system is forging ahead with expansion plans, including a $99 million patient tower in Raleigh, a $34 million women's hospital in North Raleigh and new medical facilities in Garner and Brier Creek. In June, WakeMed proposed building a $60.7 million outpatient medical center near its flagship Raleigh hospital to relieve congestion at its main campus.