Swedish is the Seattle area's largest hospital. Officials said its actions are similar to what other health providers have done in the area. MultiCare Health System, based in Tacoma, Wash., in July announced as many as 350 layoffs.
While the issue of layoffs is nationwide, the subject is a hot one in Washington, where layoffs are happening across the state. The Washington State Hospital Association filed a lawsuit in July asking a judge to block a state law that diverted a hospital tax created a year ago to boost federal Medicaid match and increase money for safety nets.
Michael Carter, senior vice president and chief administrative officer for Swedish, expected to receive an update about the lawsuit at the association's meeting in October.
Carter said employees will begin to receive notifications next week. The entire process could take two to three months. Most of the 300 positions, about 80%, are filled by an employee, Carter estimated. A few will be left vacant.
He doesn't envy the job of state legislators charged with patching holes in the state's budget. While he's trying to ensure the best interests of Swedish, Carter's not bitter at lawmakers for cuts: “I'm not so sure they have a choice.”
Swedish announced a plan in 2009 to cut 200 posts. Unlike the current reduction, those jobs cuts were strictly nonunion positions. Hospital officials first thought layoffs could be possible about six months ago, Carter added.
Carter is confident in Swedish's plan to expand around Seattle's suburbs particularly around the Puget Sound area.