Wake Forest Baptist to eliminate 950 full-time positions

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center announced Wednesday the company will eliminate 950 full-time positions by June 2013, with 76 job cuts to take place by the end of this week. 

According to the release, the layoffs are the result of a new strategic plan for the medical center that started in 2009.

In the release, the company said nearly 50 percent of the 975 eliminations "will be achieved through deletion of vacant, temporary and contract labor positions, as well as normal attrition and retirements."

As a result, as many as 475 currently-filled positions will be eliminated by June 2013. The number represents about 3.5 percent of the workforce at Baptist. Some of those positions will be reduced through attrition during the coming months, the company said.

"Wake Forest Baptist is committed to reducing its costs in order to make health care and the overall enterprise more efficient and affordable. At the same time, it is even more committed to improved quality, safety and service, patient-centered care, pioneering research, training the next generation of medical leaders and commercializing discovery and intellectual property," the company said in the news release.

The 76 employees who will be laid off this week will continue to receive their full pay and benefits through January 4, 2013, when their severance benefits will begin, the company said.

The company also says over the past eight months, many positions opened through normal attrition and retirement were posted only internally to allow displaced employees the opportunity to transfer to those jobs.

The company explained the decision, stating it is committed to customer and patience excellence.

"The Medical Center has measured its resources and productivity against other high quality, academic medical centers to help determine the best cost structure. The goal of the Medical Center is to be in the top quartile of academic medical centers in labor productivity by June 30, 2013, the end of the fiscal year."

The company said it is engaged in the process, with expenses already reduced and budgets tightened.

According to the release, almost two-thirds of the Medical Center’s total costs are labor.

This story is developing.