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CMC/DHK Announces Workforce Reduction

January 27, 2013
Keene, NH

Declining revenue and decreasing state and federal reimbursements have forced Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene (CMC/D-HK) to announce the elimination of 34 positions across the two organizations. Twenty-two of the positions are currently vacant and will go unfilled and 13 employees are receiving notice that their jobs have been eliminated. A portion of those employees will be offered unfilled/open positions within the organization.

The action comes as the health system works to identify $7 million in cost reductions to offset the imposition of the multi-million dollar Medicaid Enhancement Tax without corresponding reimbursement as set forth in the current budget from the NH state legislature.

"I am extremely sorry this action is needed. This reduction in force is necessary for us to strengthen our organization to ensure a sustainable health system for our community," stated Art Nichols, CEO of Cheshire Medical Center. "The state of New Hampshire suddenly stopped reimbursing our Medicaid Enhancement Tax (MET) in 2011 and that has cost us over $11 million in the last 18 months. These are times of great change in health care. Change can be challenging and comes with tough decisions. Today is certainly one of those times."

The 34 FTEs represent approximately 3% of CMC/D-HK's staff year to date. These reductions are expected to decrease salaries and benefits by approximately $1 million through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2013 and approximately $2.2 million in FY 2014.

Chief Financial Officer Jill Batty stated, "During this process we are being careful to preserve as many services as possible for our community as we move toward a value-based health system with a focus on population health and keeping patients healthy. These initial reductions should not affect our ability to provide the same array of services as we have in the past. And our focus will always continue to be on quality assurance and providing the highest quality health care for our community."

Batty further stated, "CMC/DHK is proactively working to respond to the evolution of the healthcare market in a way which continues to best serve our patients and community. We recognize the imperative to deliver value to our purchasers while still maintaining the availability of critical services for the times when they are needed. Our ability to respond to the recent increase in volume related to the presence of flu in our community highlights the need for us to proceed carefully. We are committed to working with our staff and leaders to find the best opportunities to achieve our overall goal of a $7 million reduction in costs while maintaining or even improving the value of the healthcare services most important to the residents of the Monadnock region."

Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene is a non-profit community hospital and clinic with a mission to lead our community to become the nation's healthiest through our clinical and service excellence, collaboration, and compassion for every patient, every time. Founded by CMC/D-HK, Vision 2020 is a community-wide health initiative designed to actively engage the citizens of Cheshire County in the process of becoming the nation's healthiest community by 2020. Learn more at www.cheshiremed.org.

For more information contact Sandra Phipps at (603) 354-5403.

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