Wellmont planning to cut 50 positions at SW Va. hospitals

Hank Hayes • Jun 5, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Wellmont Health System announced Wednesday it is cutting about 50 positions from three Southwest Virginia hospitals and cited the lack of Medicaid expansion in the commonwealth as one of the reasons for the move.

Less Medicare reimbursements, the federal sequester and Virginia not accepting federal dollars in the Medicaid expansion are expected to contribute to a $25 million reduction in revenue in the next fiscal year, Wellmont said in a release.

The affected hospitals are Mountain View Regional Medical Center in Norton, Lee Regional Medical Center in Pennington Gap and Lonesome Pine Hospital in Big Stone Gap.

Fred Pelle, president of Wellmont’s community hospital division, said none of the hospitals are closing and pointed out the ratio of caregivers to patients would not change.

Lee Regional, however, is reducing its inpatient services and is no longer offering its intensive care unit due to lower patient volumes, according to Wellmont.

Lonesome Pine and Mountain View are consolidating several leadership positions and staffing. No services are changing in Wise County, Wellmont said in the release.

“We wish we did not have to take these actions, but the health care system in our country is changing significantly and abruptly,” Pelle said. “We need to respond with the most efficient model of care that still addresses all our patient needs. The speed of the changes being forced upon us by reduced federal reimbursements requires us to make difficult decisions to ensure we have the resources to continue to provide superior care.”

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