ATLANTA-For the third time in four years, employees at 388-bed Georgia Baptist Hospital have been accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the facility. Five people, including one hospital employee, have been indicted by a Fulton County grand jury on charges of embezzling $341,405.98 from the hospital between August 1992 and September 1993. A warrant for another employee, who wasn't indicted, has been issued, Atlanta police said. In separate incidents in 1990 and 1991, employees were found to have embezzled a total of more than $200,000 from Georgia Baptist. In the latest scam, an employee in the hospital's accounting department allegedly stole blank checks and wrote names of accomplices as payees. After the checks were cashed and returned to the hospital, the employee destroyed the original checks and altered the books to hide the transactions, police said. Georgia Baptist officials said internal audits and its outside accounting firm missed the thefts. They were uncovered after two of the alleged participants in the scheme had a falling out, police said. "We've really tightened up security measures since then," said Lee Ann , a hospital spokeswoman. "The (thefts) took place because we were in a transition period between comptrollers. We have top-notch people in place now." She declined further comment because of the legal proceedings.
CHARLESTON, S.C.-The Medical Center of the Medical University of South Carolina eliminated nearly 17% of its 4,500-member work force last week to reduce its operating costs in anticipation of national healthcare reform. "Healthcare reform places the responsibility for cost-effective care squarely on the shoulders of hospitals like ours," said James Edwards, MCUSC's president, in a written statement. "We must decisively and pro-actively meet that challenge." As part of an ongoing restructuring program, the 584-bed medical center cut a total of 743 jobs last week. Of those jobs, 433, or about 58%, were either vacant or open because of resignations during the first six months of the year. Of the 310 people who lost their jobs, 192 were full-time employees working primarily in clinical services. A hospital spokesman said the medical center wants to trim its annual operating budget to $318 million in the fiscal year that began July 1 from $340 million in the prior fiscal year. Of the $22 million reduction, $13 million, or nearly 60%, will come from the reduction in the hospital's work force, he said.