Trios Health, its hospital, clinics and other facilities want residents to keep bringing their aches, pains and emergencies through its doors.
That’s the message Kennewick’s public hospital system is sending as it announces a new round of layoffs following a year-long string of issues that included layoffs in April, a data breach in May and filing for bankruptcy protection in June.
Trios announced this week it would eliminate 20 jobs, its latest bid to return to financial health as it struggles with $221 million in debt.
Friday, hospital officials said it appears the layoffs will affect nine people. Trios also said CFO Tony Sudduth will leave in February and will be replaced by an interim financial officer under contract to its management consultant, Quorum Health Resources.
Sudduth said he is not leaving over Trios’ financial struggles but because he received an unexpected opportunity with a hospital system operator in Fort Lauderdale.
Spokeswoman Lisa Teske said the final reduction will rest on how employees bid for jobs.
Teske said that in a year of bad news, headlines have sent a chilling message to would-be patients. Trios reported declining visits across the system, further eroding its financial picture. She urged the community to view the painful steps as critical corrections to keep the health system in business. “Care has not been compromised,” said Teske.
We are here. We have every intent of being here.
Lisa Teske, Trios Health spokeswoman
“We are here,” she said. “We have every intent of being here.”
Overall staff numbers will likely fall further as Trios requires some staff in its nursing, intensive care, pediatrics, ambulatory care, nutrition services and registration units to rebid their jobs. The move is part of a larger effort to better match staffing levels to demand and align Trios with industry norms.
The current layoffs follow an earlier round announced last March, when Trios said it would eliminate the equivalent of 95 full-time positions on the recommendation of Quorum. The firm’s analysis said Trios was overstaffed by 116 full-time equivalent positions.
Teske said it was able to accomplish the reduction by laying off 23 individuals and altering schedules, including hours. At the time, the Trios network had 1,200 employees.
Trios Health’s Affordable Care Act payments have fallen from $15 million in 2015 to less than $6 million, with no corresponding increase in the number of insured patients to cover the loss.
The move was designed to trim costs by $4.5 million. But the savings were blunted by union contracts that granted automatic raises and because a reimbursements under the Affordable Care Act fell dramatically.
Trios is eligible for reimbursement from the government because it is disproportionately impacted by low-income patients or those without insurance.
Sudduth said the ACA payments have fallen from $15 million in 2015 to less than $6 million, with no corresponding increase in the number of insured patients to cover the loss.
Trios, formally the Kennewick Public Hospital District, filed for protection from creditors in June by filing under Chapter 9 of the bankruptcy code. The move gives it breathing room to negotiate a reorganization with its creditors.
It is in discussions with RCCH HealthCare Partners and UW Medicine to sell its assets, though the hospital district itself would continue to exist.