EL PASO, Texas - University Medical Center's CEO Jim Valenti blames budget
issues as the reason for laying off 56 employees Friday morning. Valenti said the inability of the El Paso Children's
Hospital to pay UMC the $75 million he said it owes is having a direct impact
on the staff.
Friday morning employees of the hospital were given a letter from Valenti.Read Valenti's letter to staff
Valenti was very emotional during a news conference held at the hospital Friday after the announcement. He described the decision to move forward with the
layoffs gut wrenching.
"It is with deep regret that I must inform you that University Medical Center today was forced to reduce the size of its workforce because of mounting budgetary pressures," stated Valenti. "The hospital's positive momentum has not been enough to overcome the budgetary pressures it faces as a result of the investments it has made in El Paso Children's Hospital that have yet to be repaid."
Employees that were laid off will get severance pay and payment for vacation time based on hospital policy, according to the announcement released to the media.
Hospital officials said UMC will not get rid of nurses and not implement a hiring freeze because they want "delivery of high quality patient care." It plans to continue hiring this year and next year clinical staff positions.
To begin addressing those issues, UMC implemented a series of cost-cutting measures early this year to conserve its cash-on-hand.
The hospital halted all but emergency capital acquisitions, reduced overtime, eliminated open positions and reduced many other overhead and supply expenses to cut costs, but it was not enough, according to the UMC officials. Positions in support, ancillary staff and management were the areas were jobs were eliminated, which will save the hospital $2 million.
The UMC board is scheduled to meet sometime in July to determine where else the hospital can cut costs.
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