Even though it is a busy hospital, Glens Falls is laying off staff. The hospital is between Albany and Montreal. The hospital is having problems making ends meet.
Hospital administration identifies 10-million dollars in needed cost savings. The company let go of 29 people in November 2012. The hospital also reduced five employees’ hours.
The hospital’s president and C.E.O. announces the hospital is having financial problems because fewer people are having elective surgery: “We hear lots of reports from patients and physicians about patients who are hesitant about having that elective procedure because of a very high co-pay, deductible or no insurance, or they’re anxious about their own personal financial situation and may not want to take the time off,” according to WNYT.
The president stated no patient care staff was cut. He said the layoffs impact all departments, including administrative, engineering, and management positions. The president blames economic woes on a decline in reimbursement rates the government pays the facility for caring uninsured or underinsured patients. The hospital states it doesn’t get reimbursed for more than 14-million dollars annually in costs to care for people getting Medicare and Medicaid.
The layoffs come after the closing of a unit at the hospital around the same time. The closing involved transferring 27 workers to other floors at the hospital, but did not have their pay cut.
All over the country, hospitals are affected by healthcare reform, tort reform, and cuts to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.
On tort reform, hospitals run into financial trouble when there are medical malpractice suits. States, such as New Hampshire, have been enacting legislation to deal with medical malpractice claims. In New Hampshire, a voluntary program involves injured patients agreeing not to go to court against medical providers in exchange for obtaining compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, but not for lost earning capacity, pain, suffering or other damages.
The malpractice reform law in New Hampshire incentivizes medical malpractice defendants to offer settlement early in the litigation process. Settlement offers would cover the plaintiff’s economic losses, such as medical bills, and compensate for pain and suffering. If the plaintiff takes the early offer, the plaintiff can get the settlement money within a few months without the delay, uncertainty, and cost of a trial. If the plaintiff does not accept the offer and proceeds to trial, the bill makes the loser of the trial liable for the attorney and court fees.