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September 30. 2013 10:08PM

Exeter Hospital says 75 jobs will be cut

EXETER — Exeter Hospital and its affiliate, Core Physicians, announced Monday that 75 positions will be cut from the fiscal 2014 operating budgets as part of a cost-saving measure.

The cuts will affect every level of the organization, ranging from senior management to administrative support positions, according to hospital spokesman Debra Vasapolli.

The staffing reduction was made after "months of comprehensive review and ongoing cost saving strategies," Vasapolli said in a prepared statement.

The bulk of the cuts include 35 open positions that weren't filled over the last several months and another 22 eligible employees who recently accepted early retirement packages.

Beginning Monday, hours were also reduced for an additional 17 staff members and the equivalent of 28 full-time positions were eliminated.

Employees affected by the reduction are receiving severance packages, Vasapolli said, and the hospital is helping displaced staff members find new job opportunities.

"Both Exeter Hospital and Core Physicians have worked for many months to offset the challenging environmental demands they are facing; however, regretfully, such actions have not been enough to offset the ongoing adverse demands facing healthcare organizations in this state and nationally. This includes reduced levels of reimbursement from commercial and government payers, changing utilization driven by downward pressures in the economy, and, most notably, New Hampshire's Medicaid tax structure that added close to $9 million in additional, unreimbursed costs to the hospital in 2013 alone," Vasapoli said.

She added that the health care industry nationally and regionally has "entered a period of rapid change," but that the hospital and Core Physicians "remain committed to their collective mission of improving the health of the community and delivering high quality patient care in the most efficient manner possible."

The latest cuts come two years after the equivalent of 110 full-time positions were eliminated and Exeter Healthcare, a skilled nursing facility, was closed following state cuts in Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals.

The reduction in September 2011 affected Exeter Health Resources, Exeter Hospital, Core Physicians, and Exeter Healthcare and Synergy Health & Fitness. Those cuts were made several months after Exeter Health Resources signed a new three-year contract with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield after a battle over rates and the cost of healthcare.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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