Following an industry trend, 308-bed Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, Conn., announced last week that it will lay off 200 workers by early next year as it faces declining business and nationwide pressures to lower healthcare costs.
The hospital laid off 30 management employees immediately and said the other 170 workers, including nurses, physicians and general staff, will be cut by March. The move will reduce the hospital's 2,100-member work force by about 9% and is expected to save $9.5 million.
"These steps are very painful and have not been taken lightly," said William T. Christopher, president of the hospital.
The average daily number of patients at Lawrence has dropped from 344 in 1991 to 303 this year, said Kelly Anthony, a spokesman for the hospital. Projections put that figure at 296 next year.
"We have cared for the same number of patients with less people before," Mr. Anthony said. "We've got to do that again."
Mr. Anthony said that the average length of time patients spend at the hospital also has gone down over the years, but he didn't have specific figures. He said maternity patients now spend about six hours in the hospital, compared with three days in the past.
"Because of managed care, insurers will only pay for them to stay for six hours," Mr. Anthony said. "Healthcare is changing."