St. Vincent Health plans job cuts, but mum on numbers

J.K. Wall
May 23, 2013
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St. Vincent Health will lay off an unspecified number of employees across its 22-hospital network by June 30 in a cost-saving move the hospital blamed on Obamacare, cuts to Medicare reimbursement, and lower-than-expected volumes of patient procedures.

Indianapolis-based St. Vincent, which is the second-largest hospital system in Indiana, employs nearly 18,000 workers. The Catholic organization is the sixth-largest employer in the state.

“We understand that other health systems are facing similar challenges and making difficult decisions as well,” said Vince Caponi, CEO of St. Vincent Health, in a prepared statement. “To sustain our health system’s service to patients and families across the state, we must re-imagine the way we provide holistic care—body, mind, and spirit.”

St. Vincent spokesman Johnny Smith on Thursday declined to give an estimate of the number of people who will lose their jobs in the restructuring, saying St. Vincent executives had more work to do to discern which positions to eliminate. He said the job losses would be among both permanent workers and contract employees.

He also said St. Vincent will be looking for expense reductions in its administrative functions, supply purchasing, and programs and services. He said he could not provide specific examples at this time.

“We want to make sure, any reductions that we have, that we continue to provide excellent patient care,” he said.

Indeed, St. Vincent is not the only local hospital system looking to cut costs. Indiana University Health, the state’s largest hospital system, earlier this year delayed plans to expand its Methodist Hospital in downtown Indianapolis.

Also, IU Health CEO Dan Evans has said the hospital system intends to cut $1 billion—or more than 20 percent of its expenses—over the next four years, which would likely include staff reductions.

“I believe that, as an industry, we have been inefficient,” Evans said in March.

Also, Community Health Network has cut out more than $100 million in annual expenses since 2009. It hopes to trim out a total of $300 million by 2015.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, called for $155 billion in cuts to hospitals’ Medicare payments over 10 years. Then the fiscal-cliff deal on Jan. 1 this year chopped out another $15 billion. And the budget sequester, which hit March 1, looked ready to sap another $10 billion.

Smith said he did not have a specific dollar amount of expense reductions that St. Vincent is aiming for.

In the 12 months ended June 30, St. Vincent had total revenue from operations of $2.3 billion. Its income from operations totaled $158 million.


  • It is obamacare's fault
    Expantions would have been good and brought in more jobs for Indiana had obamacare not hit them hard. Turns out obamacare is to blame.... "The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, called for $155 billion in cuts to hospitals’ Medicare payments over 10 years. Then the fiscal-cliff deal on Jan. 1 of this year chopped out another $15 billion. And the budget sequester, which hit March 1, looked ready to sap another $10 billion."
  • No Consent for procedures
    St. V is doing procedures (mesh implants) that they do not have patient consent to do. A patient goes in for one thing and comes out with a few things done the dr. has never even talked about or given consent to do. St V president says that in the state of Indiana, when a patient gives consent for a surgical procedure, once the doctor/surgeon is in there, they can do whatever they want. Even though I was injured in the procedure and even was admitted, they are still billing me for implants that are so painful and still causing me problems. The are not "The Spirit of Caring" hospital. I wonder how many other patients are going in for one procedure and leaving with a few other things done they may not have even needed all so the hospital can make $$. I am not using them ever again! --don't trust them!
  • Organized Crime
    St Vincent Hospital is not laying off because of Obamacare. Their laying because of over expansion and bad budgeting. St Vincent hospital is lying to the media and the public. Administration runs that hospital like the mafia. St Vincents needs to be investigated by the government, Their basically tapping associates on the shoulder and telling them. "Their service are no longer needed." Sounds like the MOB to me
      I'm curious about your comment "escorted by armed guards" Does this explain why my mother who has been receiving treatment for 18 months for her bi-polar disorder received a ROBO CALL!!!! terminating her therapy treatment immediately?!?!?! No termination session. No 30 day warning. No single consideration for the population being served at the Stress Center of Frankfurt, like my bi-polar mother with a history of suicide attempts?!? This is unscrupulous and unconscionable and it requires investigation and licensure review.
    • It happend to me
      What I find so appalling is while these hospitals are cutting jobs they are expanding all over the state of Indiana with multi-million dollar branches. They can justify these expenses and the huge salary packages to their CEO's and President's but just can manage to pay a cleaning person $18,000. I know because my job of 30 years was cut from Community Health Network back in 2010. Fortunately for me I was able to get my traditional pension and SS so I'm not too bad off. And Community had 9 CEO's running around in there pulling down millions in salaries. They claim to be losing money but get loans to expand. They will be on every corner if they don't watch out just like the banks and some department stores. They compete with themselves and drain the business. I heard that St. Vincent just laid off many employees the other day and had armed guards to escort them out. Nasty!!!!
      • Unemployment
        Not true. I worked for St.V was let go and collected unemployment. My friend's mom got fired from St.V and collected unemployment.
      • Similar to Manufacturing Sector
        Most people don't realize the fact that this healthcare change is related to the changes the manufacturing sector went through in the 90s. Inefficiency is rampant in the hospital system today. Duplicate efforts, silo budgeting, over expenditure on staffing and expansion. This is the natural catch up to the standard market changes. What keeps healthcare behind the times is the reliance on government payments. True costs are gamed to earn as much of the severely discounted reimbursement levels. Most hospitals start policy/quality changes only if they get paid for it, not if it improves care or efficiency. It's a model that is in the middle of complete overhaul, but the unpredictable Obsmacare regulation makes it even more difficult to plan, so short term job losses have to happen stay on budget.
      • Not true
        @Lillian that's not true you can collect unemployment for profit or non-profit employer. However St Vincent will be giving severance packages.
      • Another
        @Lillian: Now that's just lovely! Folks will need some kind of severance package then more than ever!
      • Unemployment
        and for those who don't know - STV is a non for profit - so those people that get fired cannot collect unemployment.
        • Contractors
          @Agree Great points how many contractors, ad agencies and temps?
        • All so familiar
          Sad. I know this tune all to well unfortunately. Let me guess they havent even told staff when they are going to make final decisions on who gets cut. So now basically the total environment is operating in pure fear because most are clueless if the day they go in will be the last. Cuts happen, it's how you go about it that I find interesting.
        • Unnecessary expenses
          OVER-expansion and astronomical advertising budgets are mind-boggling. Since when does advertising sway a potential patient's decision on which hospital to choose? Insurance companies decide that. IU Health and St. Vincent have been the healthcare equivalent of Target and Walmart for years. All that posturing and expansion are VERY expensive. Expenses passed along to paying patients.
        • Overextend finances/services
          I am also a current SVH employee. I have knowledge of hiring freeze, but hospital continues to hire employees, Opening a new hospital on the NE side of Indianapolis ( not needed) Services that are involved with volunteers and funding to other sources. The hospital just asked its "associates" to donate funding to "spruce up the existing campus" and then e-mail associates that their jobs may be in jeopardy of being cut 1 week later. I think it is easy to blame Obamacare that wants to help all people have access to healthcare instead of managing you over all budget for the hospital.
          • agreed
            Fewer people have jobs and insurance. It has nothing to do with "Obamacare".
          • Long time coming
            I remember discussing how unsustainable America's health care industry had become back in 2004 when I was earning my MHA from IUPU and gripeing to fellow employees at IUH about the constantly rising cost of health insurance premiums in 2006, long before Obama took office. It is all too easy to blame the current adiministration. Health care was and continues to be complex with a host of reasons for it's current financial issues. I agree that knowledge is power and much progress will be made if hospitals were required to publish prices for all services thereby allowing consumers to make better informed decisions on where they receive care.
            • Prices
              I'm on a high deductible health plan with a health savings account. The idea was that I'm somehow going to "shop around" and choose low cost providers for my health care needs, or pay the difference. Thing is, price information on even basic medical procedures is pretty scarce. I can get an up-front price on virtually everything else I buy, but not for most aspects of medical care. Those where price information is available (shingles vaccinations, lasik, flu vaccinations, etc.) seem to be pretty price-competitive. Most of the rest is a mystery and most providers do not hesitate to take advantage of our ignorance in that respect. Knowledge is power. If health care providers were required to post price information, I bet we'd see some downward pressure on those prices.
            • Thats Right the majority of the citizens dont matter apparently
              How is it that the majority of Americans would not like to have Obama care and he still gets re-elected? What kind of health care is it look to Canada and other socialist places or the milatary where the reserch is scarce and people have to wait years for elective operations that would help them to be re-employed. Nurse cuts mean less time with patients and longer wait times but what of congress and state workers will they also be on Obmama care? If the cuts are nessesary then lets start with the government.
            • open your eyes
              I love how they make Obamacare the scapegoat. Did anyone ever consider hospitals' advertising budget and who pays for that? Take notice of ALL the hospitals that are advertising via billboard, print, TV, radio, digital, etc. and how that has increased over the years. Its not free folks. Obamacare has nothing to do with those costs.
            • St. Vincent Hospital
              Good ole' Obamacare. Thanks liberals and those who didn't bother to vote.
            • Good Ole' Obama At Work
              Yes. Blame those who were too lazy to go vote Obama out and those who voted him in again. That's my take on it. I know folks won't get it on the left. OK. Start berating me now!
            • Saddened
              As a St. Vincent employee of over 20 years, I am saddened and disheartened by this announcement. Unfortunately, as the healthcare "industry" continues on this political and corporate path, all that St. Vincent Hospital has stood for spiritually for its employees and this community is being sucked dry. I know it truly has no choice. It is not just Obamacare or just competition or just any single thing. This trend started long before I was even born when the government became involved in healthcare and it became an "industry." I grieve for those who will lose their jobs, one of whom may be me, but I also grieve for this hospital which I have served for over 20 years. May God give us and it the grace to withstand the future of healthcare.
              • Good
                It's nice to see that some commenters understand the complexity of the healthcare issues versus a facile, juvenile, and highly simplistic "it's Obama's fault" worldview.
              • Inefficent
                We were just hearing not long ago that hospitals will do better under a system that requires everyone to have health insurance. Why is St Vincent blaming Obamacare here? In another article they cite increased competition. Even the IU CEO admitted in the above article that the industry has been 'inefficient'.
              • Too many
                Maybe Indiana's lax regulations for allowing hospital expansion are partly to blame. So many opening so close to one another, then the nonstop advertising to draw patients from one another. Maybe they can cut out the ridiculous 'top doctors' or 'I can practice anywhere (really!) advertising to save money. How about the elaborate maternity suites and artwork? Who pays for that anyway?
              • Yes we can
                I hope those Obama voters, who will lose their jobs at St. Vincents, enjoy their hope and change. Congratulations.
                • Corrected.
                  "And the success of the Indiana GOP to not allow an expansion of Medicaid had nothing to do with Indiana hospitals' financial woes? Fixed that for you; editorial bias rebalanced. Seriously, there are so many things wrong with Obamacare that the only way one can view it as a success is to assume that it was designed to fail our way into a government single payor healthcare system. The system is complex, creates huge regulatory burdens and overhead and yet still does not have adequate means to control escalating health care costs. But then when you elect a 10th grade math drop out with no quantitative reasoning skills to be President of one of the world's most important economies in troubled times, you can't really be surprised by blatant stupidity.
                • Medicaid Expansion?
                  And the failure on the part of Indiana GOP to allow an expansion of Medicaid had nothing to do with Indiana hospitals' financial woes?

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