191 employees being laid off by Vidant Health

North Carolina news

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT/WNCN) — Vidant Health CEO Dr. Michael Waldrum sent an email Monday stating 191 employees have been let go.

The news comes as the company continues to deal with an 18 million dollar budget shortfall in the first quarter of the 2020 fiscal year.

WNCT was able to obtain Dr. Waldrum’s email.

Waldrum stated in the email in order to fix the budget shortfall the first steps were to “reduce costs, implement operational efficiencies and discontinue recruitment and hiring for certain non-patient care positions.”

The email also stated:

Making decisions that impact team member’s life is very difficult and is not something we take lightly. without a doubt, this is a hard time for all of us. Saying goodbye to team members who we have worked alongside and care about is not easy. I deeply value the contributions made by everyone on the Vidant team, we will do anything we can to support that impacted by this reduction.”

State Sen. Dan Blue (D-Wake County) said the he was concerned but not surprised by the announcement. He said the timing is troubling as we learn more about the impacts of the novel coronavirus on North Carolina.

He said it highlights the need for the state to expand Medicaid, which Vidant’s CEO has supported.

“Those counties would benefit tremendously from Medicaid expansion, and it’s unfortunate that the people who represent those counties don’t appreciate that,” said Blue. “Where everybody is concerned about infectious communicable diseases, it is time that we deal seriously with making health care available to everybody.”

The legislature has been at an impasse over the state budget, in part, because of the disagreement over whether to expand Medicaid.

Republicans have questioned whether the federal government will continue to cover 90 percent of the cost of it, as originally intended.

“This is not a be-all, end-all, fix-all sort of situation, to expand Medicaid,” said Sen. Bob Steinburg (R-1st District), who represents several counties where Vidant operates. “Some states have been at it three and four years and may not be experiencing those 90 percent reimbursements anymore. They’re seeing shortfalls.”

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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) Eastern North Carolina’s largest health care provider is looking at options to deal with a budget shortfall and one option includes cuts in workers.

A Vidant Health spokesman told WNCT they’re experiencing a significant budget shortfall for the first quarter of this year.

The company operates nine hospitals in the east.

It has more than 12,000 employees, providing care to people in 29 counties.

Vidant health released a statement saying:

“Vidant Health understands—and continues to be transparent about—the unique challenges of delivering health care for eastern North Carolina. These challenges include a high burden of disease, an underserved population, a growing number of patients relying on Medicare and Medicaid and a lack of focus on rural health care policy. In addition, there are more than one million people in North Carolina living without health insurance.

Vidant is feeling the impact of the realities of delivering rural health care, which includes changes in reimbursement and increased costs associated with serving our mission. As a result, Vidant experienced a significant budget shortfall for the first quarter of fiscal year 2020. We are working to address the shortfall by exploring a number of options to include reducing expenses by ceasing discretionary spending, implementing process improvements and a reduction in workforce – this will not impact patient care at this time.

Despite these challenges, Vidant will stay true to improving the health and well-being of eastern North Carolina. The communities we serve depend on us to protect their health care.”

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