Budget cuts force Bay Medical Center to trim employee hours

By: Sandra Osborne Email
By: Sandra Osborne Email

Panama City-As many as several hundred local healthcare workers will be getting smaller pay checks by the end of this month. Bay Medical Center is cutting the hours of a large number of it's employees. Last year employees at Bay Medical launched a campaign to help raise money for the new patient tower project. Now one month after the tower opening, many of those employees are facing pay cuts.

Bay Medical Center administrators confirmed Thursday that the hopsital is reducing hours for many of the 2,000 employees by as much as 10%. "Basically based on the current economy, a lot of businesses are looking at ways to decrease their cost. We're not doing anything across the board, but we're looking at all areas to see where we can reduce cash," said Dan Morgan, Bay Medical Center's C.O.O.

Morgan says one of the main reasons for the cuts is the rising number of patients without healthcare insurance, coupled with changes in Medicare payments to the hospital. Last year alone, indigent patient care cost Bay Medical nearly $32 million. Administrators say they decided to cut workers hours instead of lay-offs. "I think that when the employees understand what we're doing and the reasons why we're doing it, I think they'll be positive in terms of their view of what we're doing for the organization," said Morgan.

The budget decisions have yet to be finalized, but Morgan says they will have to cut costs everywhere not just with employees. The hosptial will also be cutting advertising budgets and reducing costs of medical supplies. The one area that won't be cut is patient care. Hospital officials say they will not cut the hours for nurses or key administrators. The cuts should take effect later this month.

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