ANDERSON — Forty-four St. Vincent Anderson employees have resigned, retired or have been reassigned or laid off in recent months, according to Mike Schroyer, president of the St. Vincent Northeast Region.
Twenty of the employees found new employment within the St. Vincent and Ascension networks, 13 were fired from the company with a pension, six resigned instead of accepting a new position and five received retirement benefits and pensions, Schroyer said in a Friday interview.
The 44 employees represented just three percent of the company’s workforce of 1,430 employees in Anderson, he noted.
St. Vincent and Ascension are responding to changes in the health care industry by “re-imagining” the hospital system’s structure and services for better efficiency, Schroyer said.
“Our message is that St. Vincent remains committed to this community, as well as this hospital,” he said. “We plan to continue to provide the great service we have always provided. Our mission is to serve everyone in need — with a focus on the poor and vulnerable.”
Schroyer stressed that, although some positions were eliminated or combined, the hospital is hiring new physicians and specialists, as well as investing in new healthcare technologies.
“Healthcare organizations across the country are facing these same challenges, so we are really looking ahead and trying to anticipate, more than, I think, some other systems are — that are going to be in trouble further along,” he said. Along with reducing some positions, St. Vincent is taking steps to reduce costs including: volume purchasing in league with other hospitals, use of an in-house hiring agency instead of an outside agency, centralizing banking operations and standardizing processes across the network.
In an effort to provide more outpatient care, St. Vincent will offer tele-health services through an upcoming app, allowing patients to visit a doctor using a smartphone online to get prescriptions or diagnoses.
The changes are a response to national trends among insurers and the federal government to reduce reimbursement for some procedures.
For an acute care hospital like St. Vincent, Schroyer said, Medicare pays only 22 cents per dollar of treatment. Medicare and Medicaid recipients comprise 72 percent of the hospital’s patients.