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March 28. 2012 10:39PM

Monadnock hospital lays off 17

PETERBOROUGH — Monadnock Community Hospital announced Wednesday it would be eliminating 17 full-time or part-time positions to make up for reductions in state reimbursements for hospital services.

“Sweeping changes to the state's reimbursement program have required us to make these adjustments,” Richard Scheinblum, chief financial officer, said in a statement.

He added: “These decisions were difficult and not taken lightly. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for our employees. Ultimately, MCH's goal is to be independent, financially stable and be in a position to offer the community health care services.”

Last summer, 10 of the state's largest hospitals filed suit against Health and Human Services Commissioner Nicholas A. Toumpas, who oversees the state's Medicaid program. The suit seeks to block changes in reimbursement rates that cut hospital funding by more than $250 million in the 2012-2013 state budget.

Hospitals have said the cuts not only threaten Medicaid recipients' access to care, but have also has led to hundreds of layoffs.

Monadnock Community Hospital's restructuring is expected to save the hospital $3 million annually as well as create $2 million in revenue enhancements over two years.

These totals include a previously announced reduction in salary and benefits. The restructuring also includes reduction in hours for eight positions and reductions in other expenses associated with contracts, programs and non-clinical areas.

According to the hospital, employees were informed of the plan in a series of communications and employee forums.

“Our employees will always be our greatest asset,” said Peter Gosline, president and CEO.

“They are the last place we look when we need to reduce our expenses. Unfortunately, we would not have realized the level of savings needed without reducing our workforce.”

Job placement support is being offered to each employee whose position was eliminated, the hospital said.