Liberty Hospital lays off some employees

Liberty Hospital
Liberty Hospital

Liberty Hospital is eliminating 129 staff positions this month and making other cuts in an effort to reduce expenses by $20 million.

The cuts include closing its wound clinic and ending the hospital-funded patient transportation program.

The staff cuts, focused on administrative and non-patient-care jobs, are part of a “strategic performance improvement initiative” that seven internal task forces have worked on for four months.

Hospital officials say the cuts are needed to prepare for mandates in the Affordable Care Act that will take effect in 2014. The changes will reduce payments to hospitals from Medicare.

Hospitals around the country also are preparing for reduced Medicaid payments and what Liberty said was growing bad debt caused by “patients being forced to manage increased out-of-pocket costs in the form of deductibles, co-pays and insurance premiums.”

A press release from Liberty Hospital said the changes were made with a mind to “increasing core nursing teams and building consistency” by using full-time employees.

“It is our primary concern to provide the highest quality care to our patients and not to interrupt the quality of care through these changes,” said David Feess, Liberty president and chief executive. “The measures we implement will focus on patient care while allowing Liberty Hospital to remain fiscally responsible.”

The 250-bed, publicly owned medical center serving Clay and Platte counties and the northwest Missouri corridor employs 1,700 and has 300 physicians.