A mild flu season last year may have been good news for Florida residents, but some area hospitals are having to make up for the lack of patients.
During the first half of 2006, the panhandle experienced some of this driest, warmest weather on record, resulting in fewer cases of the flu.
In the past year the hospitals seen an 18 percent decrease in in-patient numbers, costing $800,000 in revenue.
Now administrators are asking employees to reduce their work hours, but only temporarily. Hospital administrators say they aren't laying off anyone.
"We have tightened our belt like any business. We have looked at all of our non-labor costs and reduced them to the maximum extent possible and then most recently within the last two weeks looked at labor costs and elected to take a 10 percent reduction," said the Northwest Florida Community Hospital CEO.
This year's flu season is just beginning, so the hospital is anticipating an increase in patients by early spring.