Akron's Summa Health System will eliminate around 300 positions after the healthcare organization's interim president and CEO said the group is "facing staggering operating losses."
Interim CEO Cliff Deveny said the cuts were made following what he called in an email to Summa employees “staggering operating losses.” Summa went from a 30 million profit last year, to a $60 million loss this year.
"We can pinpoint that to volumes in the acute care settings, so admissions are down about 5 percent, outpatient volumes are down 7 percent," said Deveny in an interview with Channel 3 News. "If that’s sustained than we can expect that type of loss in 2017."
In the memo sent to Summa employees, Deveny said about half of the positions being eliminated are currently open, adding they'll work with those impacted by the cuts to provide "outplacement services."
There are about 8,000 workers within the health system.
Summa will also be discontinuing "certain services that are better provided in other more appropriate settings," revaluating capital needs, and consolidating some units and services.
"Hopefully this is more of a bad period, but if this our new reality, we need to right size the organization to that new volume," said Deveny.
While several cuts were announced, the health system noted that it's moving forward with plans to construct a six-story patient tower (West Tower), an up to $350 million investment, on campus. Deveny said in Monday's memo that the investment is "is necessary to help Summa achieve its long-term mission."
Summa blames the rapid changes in the healthcare industry and said health systems are being hurt by what’s happening in Washington. Deveny also reports that some physicians are intentionally not referring patients to Summa Health, claiming concerns about quality of care after its ER physicians were replaced on New Year’s Day.
That led to its then CEO, Dr. Thomas Malone, stepping down and Deveny taking over what he calls “ a real situation.”
"I inherited a real situation and a challenge from the board of trustees to stabilize the culture, set a clear vision and get a good reality check of where Summa is going."
In March, Summa announced that the national accreditation firm, The Join Commission, found “no cause for concern regarding the quality of patient care” at the hospital’s emergency departments.
Shortly following the news from The Joint Commission, Summa lost its appeal over losing its accreditation to teach emergency medicine residents in its emergency rooms. Beginning on July 1, the health system would no longer train emergency medicine residents at Akron City Hospital.
There’s a challenging road ahead for the health system, accompanied with a warning from Deveny that Summa’s name on employee badges could disappear without growth.
"If we don’t do these things, I can assure you the name on our badges will no longer say Summa Health, our employees at all levels of the organization and our community will see unprecedented change, and our independent physicians will be faced with the reality of what it means to practice in a community that no longer has an independent, local option for them," Deveny wrote in the email.
In an emailed statement, Akron mayor Dan Horrigan said he plans to meet with Deveny and other Summa leaders in the near future to "discuss how we can best partner in this critical effort."