COLUMBIA, Mo. - Boone Hospital Center is set to lay off 50 employees as well as close its inpatient pediatrics nursing unit.
According to Boone Hospital spokesperson Ben Cornelius, the hospital is seeing lower inpatient volumes and more patients insured with high-deductible health insurance plans who are avoiding hospitalization.
The impacted jobs are in managerial and support roles. Cornelius said those whose jobs will be cut will be get severance, outplacement services and access to the Boone Hospital Center Employee Assistance Program.
ABC17 News reached out to the MU Health Care and public relations manager Mary Jenkins said they are not facing the same issues.
"MU Health Care's hospitals are experiencing high inpatient volumes," she said in an email.
In 2016, Moody's Investor Service downgraded the hospital's bond rating because of a decline in the hospital's financial performance in fiscal year 2015 and a 2017 review of the hospital's finances and operations showed declining numbers compared to University Hospital.
A 2016 bond violation by Boone, due in part to decreased 2015 hospital revenue, led to the review by Stroudwater Associates, a Portland-based consulting firm. It found that Boone did experience a ten percent decrease in patient volume between 2012 and 2015. One reason for the decline may have been attributed to the hospital's narrow health care network. Additionally, competition with MU Health Care was a factor.
It actually saw a fourteen percent increase in patient volume between 2012 and 2015.
This comes two months after the Boone Hospital Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to discuss aligning with University of Missouri Health Care. The current Boone Hospital lease with Barnes-Jewish Christian Healthcare ends in 2020. BJC must be informed of a change in the lease by the end of 2018.
The full statement is below:
"Across the nation, community hospitals are experiencing significant downturns in utilization. Similarly, at Boone Hospital Center, we are seeing lower inpatient volumes and more patients who are now insured with high-deductible health insurance plans and consequently avoiding hospitalization. As the government reduces spending to address the budget deficit, payments to hospitals, including Boone Hospital Center, are declining. We must remain focused on ensuring Boone Hospital Center continues to stay financially strong to ensure we can deliver on our mission of improving the health of the people and communities we serve during this challenging time for the health care industry. In response to these realities, on Monday, October 2, Boone Hospital Center notified employees of a workforce reduction displacing approximately 50 members of our 1,700-member team.
Boone Hospital Center has taken a number of actions to address our financial challenges including making reductions in areas that would not directly affect our valued employees. The majority of impacted positions are in managerial and support roles. Our employees whose positions will be directly impacted will be supported through this transition with comprehensive severance, outplacement services and access to the Boone Hospital Center Employee Assistance Program. Boone Hospital Center will also be closing our inpatient pediatrics nursing unit.
These are difficult times that now unfortunately impact our Boone Hospital family. But, we know that these decisions and actions are critically important as we continue our mission of improving the health of the people and communities we serve."