Yale New Haven Health laid off 72 hospital managers Wednesday and eliminated another 83 vacant administrative positions in a system-wide “restructuring” done in the face of rising costs and an expected $300 million deficit.
YNHH Vice President Vin Petrini confirmed those layoffs during a phone interview with the Independent.
He said that, in total, the regional health system cut 155 jobs from its roughly 30,000-person workforce on Wednesday.
Because more than half of those positions were vacant, the number of employees who were actually laid off was 72. The group includes 51 employees who worked in New Haven.
YNHH owns and operates seven hospital campuses in total, including in Greenwich, Bridgeport, New London, Westerly, R.I., and in New Haven on York Street and at St. Raphael’s.
Petrini stressed that all of the positions that were cut were management and administrative roles. None of the people who were laid off were involved in patient care, food services, security, or transport. These layoffs “did not impact front line and care giver” employees, he said. And the layoffs included junior and senior managers alike.
This was “more of a restructuring of our management team to be more nimble” in the face of some serious economic pressure that YNHH, just like other health care systems across the country, is currently facing.
Wednesday is an “incredibly difficult day,” Petrini said. He said that many of the employees whom the hospital system laid off have been invited to apply to other jobs at YNHH.
He also said that cutting so many positions and laying off so many employees all at once “is not something that this system” has had to do before. He said that each person who was laid off was told so in individualized meetings with managers, and that their final days on the job will be the end of this week.
“Given the financial challenges we face, we’re going to finish the year with a $300 million loss,” Petrini stated. He said that YNHH’s budget for next fiscal year, which starts on Oct. 1, will likely include a $250 million expected deficit.
Driving those deficits, he said, has been everything from the expiration of federal CARES Act grants to “historic inflation” to supply chain difficulties to “premium labor” costs for the unprecedented number of travel nurses that the hospital system has employed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, Petrini said, even with these management-level layoffs, YNHH will “continue to make investments in key positions” like nurses. “We prefer to invest in our employees” rather than in hiring temporary travel nurses to fill in gaps at higher costs, he said.
How exactly does the hospital plan to address these deficits?
“We know it’s going to take a couple of years to get back” to a healthy financial state for the health system, he said. Some of the strategies the hospital will be pursuing include “reduction in premium labor” — that is, hiring fewer more-expensive travel nurses. He said YNHH is also “working aggressively on supply chain costs” and “working on length-of-stay issues.” He said the hospital is going to continue to invest in building out the new neuroscience research and treatment center at the St. Raphael’s campus, which he said has benefited from many philanthropic donations.
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