Winston-Salem, NC -- Cost-cutting at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center will cause 950 full-time positions to be eliminated by June 30, 2013, the healthcare provider announced Wednesday.
In a news release, WFBMC said about half of the layoffs will come from "vacant, temporary and contract labor positions, as well as normal attrition and retirements." As many as 475 current employees -- about 3.5 percent of the company's workforce -- will get pink slips.
While the staff reductions won't be complete until next summer, 76 employees are being laid off this week. WFBMC says those workers will still get their full pay and benefits through Jan. 4, 2013. Everyone who is being laid off will get severance pay.
The medical center says the job cuts "will not affect nurse-to-patient ratios [or] the quality of patient care."
Dr. John McConnell, the chief executive officer at the medical center, says there's no simple explanation for the job cuts.
"This was not about a problem," McConnell said. "This was about positioning ourselves for the future. Because it's vitally important, not just to this medical center but the region, that we continue to expand and grow along those strategic areas of patient care, research and education.
"And to do that successfully, we have to lower our total cost structure," he said.
Dr. McConnell says the medical center has been looking for about two years now for ways to trim. He said the hospital isn't losing money, but reductions in research funding from the federal government, reductions in how much money it will get reimbursed from Medicare and Medicaid and the ballooning cost of healthcare mean the medical center has to do more with less.
"This is not a blame game," McConnell said. "And that's not what this is about. This is about this medical center repositioning itself to be amazingly successful in the future."
WFMY News 2/Wake Forest Medical Center