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Published: Thursday, 6/18/2009

Mercy to lay off 71 employees at 6 facilities

BLADE STAFF

Faced with an increasing need for free patient care, Mercy Health Partners is laying off 71 employees throughout northwest Ohio and making other changes as part of an effort to cut $15.9 million in labor and expenses this year, employees were told Thursday.

Lay offs will affect six of seven Mercy hospitals in northwest Ohio and Mercy's Toledo campus, primarily among employees not involved with direct patient care, said Sarah Bednarski, Mercy spokesman.

Mercy now expects to provide nearly $31 million in free charity care to patients this year, $9 million more than originally anticipated, Ms. Bednarski. The hospital system also is grappling with decreased Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, she said.

"We had to make some tough decisions," Ms. Bednarski said.

About half of the $15.9 million in cuts will come from reduced expenses for supplies, information technology, and other areas, Ms. Bednarski said. The other half will come through lay offs and other moves, such as decreasing hours for some employees and cutting premium pay for nurses, she said.

Lay offs will be spread across management and non-management positions at Mercy's Toledo campus; St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center; St. Vincent Mercy Children's Hospital; St. Anne Mercy Hospital; St. Charles Mercy Hospital; Mercy Hospital of Tiffin, and Mercy Hospital of Willard.

Not included is Mercy Hospital of Defiance, a small joint venture facility.



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