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Missoula hospital lays off 16 due to state budget cuts

Community Medical Center in Missoula has laid off 16 employees due to state budget cuts.

The Missoulian obtained a copy of an email that hospital CEO Dean French sent to the medical staff on Friday. It said state cuts to Medicaid reimbursement rates means the hospital will see at least a $6 million reduction in payments for treating Medicaid patients.

Hospital spokeswoman Megan Condra says the people whose jobs were eliminated were in management or in non-clinical staff positions. The hospital's website says it employs about 1,100 people and has an annual payroll of over $65 million.

Bozeman Health says it expects to see a $2.6 million drop in revenue due to state cuts while Kalispell Regional Medical Center recently announced some layoffs, saying it expected a $6.6 million revenue decrease.

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Condra issued the following statement:

Community Medical Center has experienced a reduction in state Medicaid payments of greater than 6 million dollars in fiscal 2018 due to the cuts in state spending that were enacted by the legislature in late 2017. Community Medical Center’s share of the payment reductions is disproportionate to our size, due to the population of patients we serve. Community Medical Center has a proud tradition of providing nationally recognized women’s and children’s services and rehabilitative services for the severely disabled. These areas of excellence are more dependent on Medicaid than are many other services offered by larger hospitals in the state.

Community Medical Center has made the difficult decision to realign some areas of its workforce in order to meet the current challenges, but also to better prepare the facility in the face of the planned elimination of the state Medicaid Expansion or HELP Act in 2019. This realignment has resulted in the elimination of 16 positions at Community Medical Center effective immediately.

"We were intentional to avoid the elimination of direct patient care providers," said Dr. Dean French, Community Medical Center CEO. "The employees whose jobs have been eliminated have been notified. We will offer alternative positions to those who qualify. All of the individuals affected made significant contributions to Community Medical Center. The impact of their not being here is difficult to imagine, for them personally, but also for their colleagues who are still here."

“Dynamic changes in healthcare reimbursements have resulted in the challenging decision to reduce our workforce. While the layoffs impact a small percentage of our workforce, these are very talented people who have worked hard for our hospital and will be missed.” said Director of Marketing and Communications Megan Condra. “While change isn’t easy, it is necessary in order for us to maintain a resilient organization and grow to meet the needs of our community.”

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