SAVANNAH, GA--As many as 200 Memorial Health employees will lose their jobs as early as January. Over the past couple of days WTOC has received a number of calls from people hearing whispers of the pending cutbacks.
Today Memorial's CEO and president Bob Colvin confirmed what people have been fearing. He said it's a worst case scenario for the hospital. Last January Memorial Health, one of Chatham County's biggest employers, laid off 300 employees. This year it could be 200.
Colvin said this year the hospital is on track to lose $35 million, saying he'll have to lay off between three and five percent of the hospital's workforce. "That's five percent of 4,000 people in the organization, not what we wanted to do but what we have to do with the pressures of the world we are in," Colvin said.
The biggest money problem for Memorial is their trauma center. They lose about $7 million a year treating people in 32 counties across the Coastal Empire and Low Country. Many of those patients do not have insurance.
Other problems...currently the state only reimburses hospitals like Memorial 80 cents for every dollar spent on Medicaid. And overall, the number of patients going to Memorial is down five percent from last year.
Memorial Health has hired consultants to take a good look at the hospital. They will be the ones who recommend which jobs get cut. They will present their report to the hospital in mid December.
Colvin said they only way to turn things around is for the state to step-in.
"I think it's a sign of the times that there is lots of need out there for high intensity trauma services but very little funding for it," he said. "I think it's a societal issue that has to be addressed and I thing the state of Georgia need to do it quickly."
Colvin said some key state leaders have reassured him that this issue will be addressed during the next legislative session. Unfortunately, that will be too late for the employees who will lose their jobs at the first of the year.