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Centura Health to eliminate 350 positions from 19 hospitals

Health care provider blames potential recession for job eliminations
Centura Health plans to cut 350 jobs across 19 hospitals, citing economic difficulties. Centura did not respond to requests for comment about how the cuts will affect Mercy Hospital in Durango. (Durango Herald file)

Centura Health, which owns Mercy Hospital in Durango, is eliminating 350 positions at 19 of its facilities in Colorado and Kansas, according to an internal email that was provided to The Durango Herald.

The layoffs began Friday and will continue through Oct. 7, according to the email sent to staff members in the Centura network. The email, sent Thursday, was addressed to “All Centura Caregivers.” It was signed by three Centura executives, including Eddie Sim, Andrew Gaasch and Scott Lichtenberger.

“While there is so much to be proud of and grateful for, Centura has not been immune to the economic challenges facing our country and our industry,” the email reads.

Centura Health and Mercy did not respond to several requests seeking comment, including how many layoffs are expected to occur at Mercy Hospital. The corporation has rarely spoken with The Durango Herald since late last year, when the newspaper reported Mercy’s CEO was exposed to COVID-19. At the time, Mercy had the largest COVID outbreak in La Plata County.

But in a statement provided to other media outlets, Centura Health expressed much of the same message contained in the staff email. Centura blamed its economic challenges on “external factors” such as inflation, supply chain disruptions and a potential recession. It also said some patients are likely still delaying care because of the pandemic.

“In short, volumes are down and expenses are up,” the statement reads.

Centura Health said the staff reduction amounts to 1% of its workforce.

Centura Health hospitals

  • St. Anthony Summit Hospital, Frisco.
  • Littleton Adventist Hospital, Littleton.
  • Porter Adventist Hospital, Denver.
  • Castle Rock Adventist Hospital, Castle Rock.
  • St. Anthony Hospital, Lakewood.
  • Parker Adventist Hospital, Parker.
  • St. Thomas More Hospital, Cañon City.
  • St. Mary-Corwin Hospital, Pueblo.
  • St. Elizabeth Hospital, Fort Morgan.
  • St. Francis Hospital, Colorado Springs.
  • Longmont United Hospital, Longmont.
  • St. Anthony North Hospital, Westminster.
  • OrthoColorado Hospital, Lakewood.
  • Mercy Hospital, Durango.
  • Bob Wilson Memorial Hospital, Ulysses, Kansas.
  • St. Catherine Hospital – Dodge City, Dodge City, Kansas.
  • Avista Adventist Hospital, Louisville.
  • St. Catherine Hospital, Garden City, Kansas.
  • Penrose Hospital, Colorado Springs.

“We have worked hard to avoid associate reductions; yet, like many health systems across the country, reductions have become unavoidable,” the statement reads. “As a result, Centura is reducing its workforce by approximately one percent across Colorado and western Kansas.”

Centura said it is working to find alternative positions for employees whose roles were eliminated.

In addition to the layoffs, Centura won’t fill some vacant positions, according to the staff email. And there will be a reduction of non-clinical positions with Centura’s external partners, according to the email.

Centura said discussions were held with “impacted associates” and their managers as of Friday. “Discussions with impacted leaders will be completed no later than Friday, Oct. 7,” the email says.

“While we have made some progress in building efficiencies in our supply costs and closed many open requisitions for positions and chosen to not backfill some positions as associates retired or resigned, we are still missing budget year-to-date by $37M,” the email reads. “We have worked hard to avoid reductions; yet, like many health systems across the country, reductions have become unavoidable.”

Centura Health recently announced hospital additions in Fort Morgan and Dodge City, and the future opening of its 20th hospital, St. Francis Interquest in Colorado Springs, as an orthopedic and spine center, in 2023.

“There never is an ideal time to undertake such changes that so heartfeltly impact our people and their families,” the email to employees reads. “In alignment with our Mission and core Values, eligible associates who are not transitioned to another position in our ministry will receive severance pay and other just support, including access to career transition services.”

Centura announced earlier this month that Mercy’s CEO Patrick Sharp will leave the hospital to join Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Hospital on Oct. 3 as the new CEO. Centura has not yet said who will assume the role of CEO at Mercy.

molsen@durangoherald.com

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