The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 21, 2013

Via Christi Health to cut up to 400 positions across state; Pittsburg impact uncertain

From staff reports

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Via Christi Health announced Today that it would cut up to 400 positions within its system across the state of Kansas to compensate for financial challenges as a result of declining hospital and physician visits.

That represents about 4 percent of Via Christi’s statewide workforce, officials said in a release. Senior leaders also are expected to take a 4 percent salary reduction, they said.

The number of positions that could be affected at Via Christi in Pittsburg is still unknown, according to Michael Hayslip, the hospital’s public relations director.

“We’re also looking at operational costs and contracted services that we may be able to cut to help the number of staff reductions,” he said in a telephone interview this afternoon. “We will know the number of positions affected by June 7.”

Hospital officials said the budget cuts are needed because revenues in the form of hospital and physician visits have declined in recent months. The health system’s 2013 operating margin as of April 30 was 0.1 percent, which is a fraction of the 3 percent to 4 percent operating margin needed to sustain its mission in the long term, according to Jeff Korsmo, president and chief executive officer for Via Christi Health.

“After three consecutive months of volume shortfalls, we believe we must assume that our volumes will not bounce back in the short term,” he said in a statement. “Consequently, we must act now if we are to achieve the modest 1.5 percent operating margin budgeted for 2014.”