NEW BRAUNFELS — Christus Santa Rosa Health System laid off a portion of its workforce across all of its five hospitals, including the New Braunfels facility, a hospital official said Wednesday.
The workforce reduction spans across all of Christus’ Santa Rosa Region, said Jim Wesson, vice president and administrator of the New Braunfels hospital. He said the executive team made the “difficult, painful decision.”
“We looked at the issues, evaluated our options,” Wesson said. “As part of our decision-making process, we are always prayerful.”
Wesson said nine of about 700 employees at Christus Santa Rosa Hospital-New Braunfels lost their jobs. He said the executive team whittled five other jobs through attrition.
Wesson said 80 people were laid off from about 4,000 jobs at four adult hospitals and one children’s hospital. He said the numbers add up to about 2 percent of the regional workforce.
Employees affected by the cuts were notified Monday and Tuesday, and the layoffs were effective immediately.
“This is something we did not take lightly,” Wesson said. “We did our best to treat everyone with dignity.”
Wesson said the cuts were necessary because system management anticipates a decrease of about $20 million in reimbursements next year. The hospitals are experiencing fewer people with insurance seeking services and more folks paying out of pocket, Wesson said, adding many of those patients fail to pay in full.
And, he said, the hospitals — similarly to most across the country — are seeing a decline in sheer volume of patients. They are forestalling elective surgeries as long as possible, Wesson said.
“Plus, with national unemployment rates, people may be leery to take time off from their jobs,” said Melissa Krause, Christus Santa Rosa Health System marketing and communications director.
Wesson said clinical, administrative and management jobs were cut, as well as some from other areas of the system. Overall, the cuts will save Christus Santa Rosa Health System about $4 million annually, he said.
The newly unemployed from Christus Santa Rosa Hospital-New Braunfels were encouraged to apply for other openings, Wesson said. He said those re-hired within six months of being laid off will retain their tenure.
Wesson declined to divulge severance-package information for those who lost jobs, saying the severance was distributed along previously defined guidelines.
“It’s a very fair package,” he said.
Christus has no plans to re-open the jobs eliminated by this week’s workforce reduction, Wesson said.