0

Job cuts possible for HMC affiliation candidate

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

One of the two candidates for affiliation with Henry Medical Center (HMC), may be facing job cuts in the near future.

Piedmont Healthcare is evaluating the possibility of reducing its workforce, according to Nina Day, vice president of corporate communications for the system.

She said the struggling national and local economies have made it necessary to examine ways to reduce expenses at Piedmont.

"We have seven operating entities, and every entity is doing a cost review," she said. "With all the changes in health-care reforms, it's important for all health-care systems to reset their cost structures in light of current and future, changes in reimbursement."

Piedmont is vying with Emory Healthcare to establish a partnership with the Henry Medical Center. A final decision on the affiliation is expected later this month.

Day, however, insisted the potential reductions have no negative impact on Piedmont's interest in linking with HMC, and would strengthen the system's financial position going forward.

"It would actually make us a better partner for Henry Medical Center," said Day. "If we can be as efficient as we could possibly be across the rest of our system, that's all the better for Henry Medical Center. The more we look at these other opportunities for savings, outside of labor, the less we have to look at labor."

Piedmont Healthcare employs roughly 8,500 employees. Day said no estimate has been given, regarding how many cuts could come for the system.

"We expect more definition in late May, or early June," she said.

Donna Braddy, HMC's director of marketing, public relations, community education and volunteer services, would not comment on Piedmont's possible job cuts.

"We have exactly one week left before a formal decision is made regarding our hospital partner," Braddy said. "We feel this is one of the most important decisions we've ever made. This process, conducted by the hospital's Affiliation Steering Committee, has been thorough and objective. Due to this, we believe it would be inappropriate for us to make comments about either institution."