Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to cut 350 jobs

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center announced Thursday that they are laying off approximately 350 employees.

The job cuts are to help close the increasing gap between growing expenses and declining reimbursement from federal and state health insurance and other revenue sources, according to a press release.

Here in North Caroline we got the first part of that with the cuts but we did not get the expanded Medicaid program.

“At the end of the day the Affordable Care Act is just reforming payments, it’s not really reforming health care,” said John McConnell, CEO of Wake Forest Baptist. “That job is left up to institutions like ours to figure out how we drive up quality and drive down cost.”

The Medical Center employs approximately 14,686 faculty and staff at all of their locations.

The release states that the announcement was not unexpected.

“It’s what happens in virtually every other American business,” said McConnell. “You’re simultaneously looking at what areas you need to grow to serve the community and second how you do that in a way that’s affordable so that you can keep you cost structure in line with the reimbursement that’s occurring.”

Since Wake Forest Baptist’s initial announcement in November 2012, the state has reduced Medicaid payments to providers statewide and early last year decided not to expand Medicaid. Employees were notified last month.

Those whose positions are eliminated are being given 45 days of paid notice with health benefits, followed by a severance package determined by length of service and position.

“Letting people go is never an easy or hasty decision,” said McConnell. “It is like losing family.”

This announcement comes as the Medical Center is currently in the process of expansion. The Innovation Quarter is being developed downtown to help the company fulfill its mission as a medical research facility.

But some people question the job cuts coinciding with expansion.

“I think it was very unnecessary to them to build when people are losing jobs,” said Michelle Scott, a Winston-Salem resident.

She also cited the building of other locations and the recent revamping of the Comprehensive Cancer Center.

McConnell says those expansions are helping the company keep up with demand and allowing Winston-Salem residents to access technologically advanced healthcare without leaving the region.

“To be able to do all those things we have to operate the business in a very prudent way and we’re really not doing anything any differently than any other business would be doing in the same circumstances,” said McConnell.

McConnell said that the organization does not anticipate further staff reductions next year. He said a new labor management system and flexible schedule should help them keep costs down.

21 comments

  • Jethro Bodink

    The Medicaid program is jointly funded by the federal government and states. The federal government pays states for a specified percentage of program expenditures, called the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage. Thanks for calling me stupid. Whatever makes you feel better about yourself I say have at it!

    • Wally the Engineer

      The Governor’s office decided NOT to take the expanded Medicare funding from the federal government. So, how about we put some of this blame on our Governor.

  • Jennifer

    I Agree with you.. EXCEPT for the “fact” of your statement about President Obama… {NEVER USE Spell- Check!!!Sorry!!)

    • B

      You don’t need spell check if you learn to spell and proof read. It’s also very simple to use spell check.

      • Mr. Perfect

        wow “B” you harp at people for spelling and grammar; yet you cannot even spell “proofread” the right way!! freakin hilarious

  • 2Cents

    Absolutely a result of ObamaCare! Medicaid expansion would only account for a part of the problem. Private healthcare and group healthcare insurance also cut allowable coverage amounts and raised deductibles so high that fewer and fewer people are seeking medical attention…..which is causing cuts in medical field.

    Obamacare forced everyone to have insurance; but the insurance wont pay a fraction of what they used to for claims. What good is the insurance if it doesnt pay the doctors. That puts the costs back on the individual who probably cant pay and therefore the medical field goes broke.

  • Thomas Christopher

    So sad that an effective, cheaper health care system that we saw pre-2009 was destroyed and totally revamped just to “cover” (or buy the votes of) the 30 million ‘uninsured'”-many of whom were uninsured BY CHOICE when they decided to purchase other things instead of health insurance (big screen TV, Iphones, new cars, etc.). So in order to provide health coverage for 10% of the population, we had to screw it up for the other 90% who HAD coverage to begin with-insurance that was better and much cheaper before the Democrats rammed this abomination down the population’s throats in 2009. Blame “the failure to expand Medicaid” all you want, but if the “Affordable Care Act” wasn’t forced upon unwilling citizens, we wouldn’t have had to “expand Medicaid” and Baptist would still have 1,300 more employees, employees that have been laid off since November 2012 (Obama’s re-election) and area residents would truly have better and cheaper health care options.

  • people r sheeple

    BAAHHHH BAHHHH man there are ALOT of sheep in this comment section…blind leading the blind.

    • Rj

      Ask the people losing their jobs at Baptist and they will tell you it is Obamacare……ask the small one doctor clinic in rural areas of surrounding counties why they are closing and they will say Obamacare…….ask yourself how long you can keep telling yourself that you are not having regrets about voting for Obama!

      • AlienDNA.

        Ask YOURSELF…how long has this been going? Do you think this whole process started with THIS President? Look at the Bigger picture outside your box and realize 1 person didn’t create this. We don’t live in a dictatorship…smh.I’m done. I’ll be back in
        ten years to check the comments of you peoples conditions.

      • AlienDNA.

        Oh, and IM independent…Im loyal to NO “party”. Why is there only 2 to really choose from? Ten years…haha

  • B

    Obamacare is also the reason why employers won’t hire full time workers. In the last 5 years unemployment hasn’t changed significantly and I attribute that to the democratic party. The only things that have improved are the housing market and the banking industry. The government bell -out was a success but Do Not vote for another Clinton please.

    • JWS

      Have ever asked yourself why the unemployment rate was so high when Obama and the Democrats took over in 2009? Could it possibly the fact that Bush and the Republicans destroyed the economy the eight years Bush was in charge and the financial meltdown occurred in September of 2008, three months before Bush left. If Bush did such a good job then why should Obama have to fix anything. I am sure someone will say it was the House that caused the problem the last two years of Bush’s presidency but if that is the case the House has been under the control of Republicans for the four years so why don’t they fix it like they said they would if elected? We came very close to full blown depression and it takes time to recover from that and working together on both sides not causing havoc and shutting down government.

  • Bazinga

    Thanks Obama! You are such a worthless President….I hate that people even call you a President. Ruined the entire US more than any other President this Nation has ever had. Lie, cheat, steal, manipulate….a joke of a President.

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