MedStar Baltimore hospitals shed 1 percent of staff through attrition

Few layoffs compared to 300 jobs cut at Washington Hospital Center

November 15, 2013|By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

Columbia-based MedStar Health has shed about 1 percent of its work force at its four Baltimore-area hospitals over the past year, less than the layoffs of about 5 percent of its employees at MedStar Washington Hospital Center announced this week, officials said.

Most of the 100 Baltimore job losses were through attrition, with a small number of layoffs, MedStar spokeswoman Ann Nickels said. The system's Baltimore-area hospitals, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital and MedStar Franklin Square Hospital, employ 10,177 people, she said.

MedStar officials are monitoring costs in the Baltimore area but have not faced the same challenges here as in Washington, D.C., Nickels said.

"The Baltimore region is under the same kinds of financial pressures as we've experienced in the Washington area, but it hasn't been as severe," Nickels said. "Going forward everybody is being extremely vigilant about costs."

Added pressures in Washington include a District of Columbia tax on each hospital bed and the bankruptcy of the D.C. Chartered Health Plan. MedStar Washington Hospital Center laid off 300 employees this month.

The health plan's bankruptcy cost MedStar $17 million for care it provided but received no reimbursement for, officials said in a statement. The layoffs came after other efforts to reduce costs, the statement said. They included managers, but no bedside nurses.

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