Wednesday, April 18, 2001

St. Francis
lays off 150 as
losses increase

The health-care provider
is $5 million in the red so
far this fiscal year

By Lyn Danninger

The news that St. Francis Healthcare System will cut its staff by 150 comes at a time when all state hospitals are facing increased difficulty balancing higher costs with lower reimbursements, particularly from government insurers such as Medicare and Medicaid.

St. Francis has incurred losses of more than $5 million so far during its fiscal year, which ends June 30.

To meet its financial goals, the organization needs to generate an additional $15 million in revenue over the next two years, St. Francis spokeswoman Maggie Jarrett said.

The organization began notifying staff about the layoffs in the past couple of weeks, Jarrett said.

"We sent a letter to employees, physicians and volunteers about a week and a half ago to give them a heads up and we also started holding forums to give them a framework," Jarrett said.

Under a systemwide re-organization, the two medical centers at St. Francis in Liliha and St. Francis Medical Center West, in Ewa Beach, will be consolidated under one administrator with five assistant administrators.

Sister Beatrice Tom will continue her role as chief executive officer of the hospitals' parent company, St. Francis Healthcare System. Sister Gretchen Gilroy will continue as chief executive officer of St. Francis Medical Center, Liliha, and St. Francis West.

The restructuring will cut staff through a combination of voluntary early retirement and layoffs. Both bargaining and non-bargaining employees are eligible for voluntary retirement and are being offered a one-time opportunity to retire with additional benefits under the organization's pension plan, Jarrett.

The cuts will primarily affect management staff, although some members of the United Public Workers union and Hawaii Nurses Association would also be affected, Jarrett said. Representatives from the unions were not available for comment.

The latest cuts are part of ongoing cost-control measures at St. Francis.

In February, St. Francis announced it would no longer offer maternity services at its St. Francis West medical center in Ewa. It will also close its Women's Addiction Treatment Center at the Liliha facility in mid-May.

The organization closed its residential treatment center in June and has also closed its Iwilei Clinic, which had served the homeless and other uninsured individuals.

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