Lower patient census led Tenet Healthcare Corp. to lay off 200 workers last week at four of the eight Philadelphia-area hospitals it bought from Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation at bankruptcy auction last year.
Representing less than 2% of the roughly 10,600 workers at Tenet's Philadelphia hospitals, the workers were let go from 195-bed City Avenue Hospital, 198-bed Graduate Hospital, 427-bed Hahnemann University Hospital and 401-bed Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital, said Tenet spokesman Harry Anderson.
Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Tenet spared the work forces at 151-bed Elkins Park Hospital, 165-bed Parkview Hospital, 135-bed Warminster Hospital and 183-bed St. Christopher's Hospital for Children. All four had already seen staff defections during the AHERF bankruptcy.
The cutbacks were the latest fallout from the financial black cloud that has hovered over the former AHERF hospitals for the past year. During the descent into Chapter 11, the eight hospitals' combined census declined about 20%, finally stabilizing at about 1,000 patients per day, where it remains today, Tenet said.
The cutbacks affected a wide range of employees, from housekeeping to nursing to management to dietary services. The company will hold an internal job fair this week to match laid-off employees with about 105 job vacancies at other Tenet facilities in the area. The 25 nurses affected have already been offered positions at the other hospitals.
Tenet continued to employ all AHERF workers when it assumed ownership of the eight struggling hospitals three months ago. At the time, the fast pace of the takeover combined with the management confusion brought on by the bankruptcy made it difficult to determine appropriate staffing levels, according to Tenet.
"With patient census basically stabilized, we can make some intelligent decisions about staffing now and going forward," Anderson said. "This was a prudent and necessary decision. We have to bring costs in line with revenue."
No other cuts are planned, he said, provided patient census remains stable.