- Brigham and Women’s Hospital may extend a buyout offer originally given to 1,600 employees in April, The Boston Globe reported.
- The original buyouts were offered to employees 60 and older and include one year of base pay and health insurance for up to 20 months. With the deadline to accept the April offer this Friday, about 45% of those receiving the offer have applied, according to the Globe. Boston Business Journal reported the hospital has not decided who may be eligible and offered the new deal.
- Brigham is still profitable, but is facing flat reimbursement levels, rising labor costs and debt from a recent building addition and a 2015 EHR rollout.
Brigham is hoping to minimize or avoid layoffs, but it certainly isn’t alone in considering that option. Hospitals nationwide are continuing to struggle with low reimbursement rates, increasing expenses and low patient volume.
For example, Community Health Systems this week attributed its net loss of $137 million in Q2 to weaker-than-expected patient volumes. However, it's also about the admissions mix. HCA noted its equivalent admissions increased 1.3% in Q2 over the previous year, but found admissions declining in lower acuity settings as well as its international markets (admissions in the Middle East were down 33% in Q2, for example).
Hospitals are looking to manage this "new normal" of softening markets and organic revenue growth. In part, every line item budget has its time under the microscope, whether it be supply chain or third party contracts. Human resources is one means to help try and control costs at an organization.
All the while, uncertainty surrounding the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) creates more frustration. Hospitals have been vocal about their opposition to recent Republican attempts to repeal the ACA and make drastic cuts to Medicaid. Those plans would lead to more than 20 million people losing coverage, and that means higher uncompensated care costs for hospitals.
The Boston-based hospital, owned by Partners HealthCare, has about 18,000 employees.