Hospital cuts underperforming services and staff

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - The effects of a dismal economy, along with slow collections, low reimbursements from insurers, and underperforming medical services has hit Jack Hughston Memorial hospital in Phenix City especially hard.

This week, the hospital notified more than two dozen employees that they would soon be out of a job. We're told that 70 to 80 positions across the board will be eliminated.

Last Wednesday, the hospital's CEO announced it is executing the next phase of its restructuring plan that would reduce underperforming medical services and trim expenses.

"Difficult times call for difficult decisions," said Mark Baker, CEO of Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital. "Hospitals nationwide are suffering from the economic recession and we are not immune to the turmoil. If we don't act now on significant changes, Phenix City will lose its only hospital. Our changes are about survival in a dismal economy."

Orthopaedic surgery will not be affected. The licensed hospital has 308 employees, and part of the plan is to evaluate its workforce needs. The hospital says it expects a reduction in staff from its underperforming services.

"We will get through this and be stronger in the long run," said Carlton Savory, M.D., chairman of the board at Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital. "But we have no choice but to take these necessary measures in the short term to restore the hospital to financial stability."