The University of Texas Systems announcement last week that it will cut 3,800 jobs at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston marked the second time this year the system will have laid off workers at its island institution. The hospital was devastated by Hurricane Ike, which caused about $710 million in damage (Oct. 27, p. 14).
In a written statement on Nov. 12, the systems Board of Regents said UTMBs current expendituresincluding the continuation of wages and benefits for employees who had not returned to workexceeds revenue by about $40 million per month. But the hospital had been struggling even before the storm, and fewer than 70 employees were let go before Ike hit, according to Marsha Canright, a spokeswoman for UTMB.
The UTMB, probably because of its mission and desire to care for the uninsured, had great difficulty in securing appropriate resources for that purpose over the past some years, Canright said, adding that the hospital has been creative in trying to address the issue by using funding from the state Legislature or indigent-care contracts with surrounding counties.