Hospital cuts staff

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

A financial squeeze has spurred staff cuts and organizational changes at Plains Regional Medical Center in Clovis, according to PRMC officials.

Hospital officials said 40 clinical, non-clinical, support services and management positions will be cut effective Nov. 18.

“Our revenues cannot sustain our current staff levels,” reads a statement released Tuesday by PRMC Administrator Hoyt Skabelund.

Hospital revenue is down by $260,000 from last year, mostly as a result of a shortage of physicians, Skabelund said. With the shortage, potential hospital income is lost, Skabelund said. He also anticipates a net revenue loss of about $10 million with the arrival of a new surgery center set to open in November in Clovis.

That means about 50 percent of PRMC surgical revenue will be lost, he said.

“That is a staggering impact,” Skabelund said.

More than 600 people are employed at PRMC, hospital officials said.

Staff cuts were made based on seniority, and severance packages were given to those affected, PRMC officials said. Many affected employees have been given the opportunity to remain at PRMC in different positions, Skabelund said.

Skabelund estimates more than half of those in eliminated positions will remain at the hospital in different positions.

No additional PRMC staff reductions are planned at this time and patient care should not be affected by the cuts, Skabelund said.

The cuts were approved Monday by Plains Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees Finance Committee, according to Skabelund. Per year, approximately $2.4 million in salaries and benefits will be saved by the changes, according to hospital officials.

Hospital officials also hope to streamline PRMC operations by changing urgent care services and laboratory management, PRMC officials said.

Beginning Nov. 19, PRMC urgent care services will transition to the Plains Regional Medical Group Same Day Access Clinic.

Hours at the clinic — located directly west of the main hospital on 21st Street — will be expanded so patients can receive same-day appointments and walk-in care for minor medical emergencies, Skabelund’s statement reads. Beginning Nov. 20, the clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Skabelund said patients can still opt to use the PRMC emergency room.

The clinic option, Skabelund said, will make the hospital more efficient, make better use of PRMC staff and improve patient care.

Effective Dec. 31, TriCore Reference Laboratories, New Mexico’s leading medical laboratory provider, will provide all laboratory services at PRMC, according to the statement. PRMC lab employees will retain their current positions, the statement reads.

PRMC, a non-profit hospital owned by Presbyterian Healthcare Services of New Mexico, serves more than 110,000 people living within a 100-mile radius of the city of Clovis, according to its Web site.