With the recent announcement from IU Health that the healthcare provider will soon be cutting 800 jobs at several facilities throughout the state, many people are left wondering how that will affect the Kankakee Valley at a local level. Fortunately, there are no layoffs anticipated for IU Health LaPorte or IU Health Starke hospitals, but the director of marketing at IU Health Starke Hospital, Neil Mangus, told WKVI that these local hospitals are suffering from fewer patients and declining payment rates as well.
“Healthcare systems, hospitals, and providers across the nation are facing pressures with healthcare reform from the government and otherwise each individual entity and provider or system is going to adapt what they’re doing to be able to face these pressures. IU Health has decided to make the decision to reduce the workforce by about 800, is the estimate, and that’s mostly downstate,” said Mangus.
The hospitals to be affected by the workforce reductions include the academic health center, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, IU Health North, Saxony and Tipton hospitals, as well as System Services. Fortunately, Mangus explained that IU Health Starke and LaPorte have been planning ahead to address these obstacles, allowing the hospitals to overcome them without cutting down on staff.
“IU Health Starke and LaPorte hospitals have been implementing strategic programs for quite some time now to address these pressures and to adapt, to be able to handle these pressures and provide more value to our patients and to our communities, and we will continue to seek out those opportunities to strengthen the value that we are providing through Lean Six Sigma strategies, through a move toward outpatient care provision versus costly inpatient care provisions, and things like that,” Mangus said.
For qualifying staff members employed in certain positions at any of the locations affected by workforce reductions, however, IU Health is offering an early retirement option to those who are at least 62 years old and will not turn 65 before Dec. 31.
While no official total of reductions has been announced, IU Health estimates approximately 800 people will be impacted but they expect many to take advantage of the early retirement program, retraining opportunities and transfers, therefore reducing the number of reductions necessary.