MYNORTHWEST NEWS

MultiCare to lay off over 220 employees due to ‘financial challenges’

Jun 29, 2023, 2:58 PM

MultiCare layoff...

MultiCare's Auburn Medical Center facility (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

MultiCare Health System will lay off more than 220 employees in the state of Washington, the company announced Thursday. That includes some workers in the Puget Sound region.

The company will part with 229 employees, about 1% of its 23,000 staff members including two dozen leaders, “in an ongoing effort to reduce the health system’s expenses,” MultiCare wrote in a press release.

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Employees working in the marketing, IT, and finance departments make up most of the layoffs. The layoffs will be spread across the Puget Sound, Inland Northwest, and Yakima regions.

Managers claimed the pandemic and inflation continually hurt profit margins alongside Medicaid reimbursement rates stagnating within the state for nearly two decades.

“The decision to eliminate staff is never an easy one, and it is not an effort that we undertake lightly,” MultiCare CEO Bill Robertson said in a prepared statement. “These reductions are unfortunately necessary as MultiCare works to address our financial challenges. They were made after a thoughtful review of our operations and with the charge that any changes made must help ensure we can continue to care for our patients now, as well as be able to serve our communities in the future.”

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Through May, MultiCare has lost $121 million after recording a loss of $287 million in the previous year.

“Staff reductions are one component of the organization’s efforts to bring its operating costs back into alignment,” the company continued. “Other initiatives include work to utilize resources more efficiently in patient care areas, streamlining some support department structures and reducing some services.”

More recent MultiCare news

Last week, nurses with MultiCare Good Samaritan, a hospital within MultiCare’s health system in Puyallup, reached a tentative agreement with the Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) after more than 20 straight hours of bargaining. The WSNA sought better staffing and availability of break nurses.

Before the deal was reached, the WSNA’s 750 nurses previously agreed to strike with a 95% vote.

The union originally asked for 12-24% raises, ratification bonuses of $3,500, and a charge and flex nurse for every unit. Jared Richardson, the MultiCare local bargaining co-chair, said the new agreement will also allow nurses proper time to use the restroom and take breaks during their 12-hour shifts.

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“I’m exhilarated; this has been so much,” Richardson told KIRO 7. “We’re seeing historic wage increases. We’re going to have better, safer staffing. We’re going to have some of the strongest language around breaks in the country, nurses. It’s fantastic.”

The WSNA noted in a press release about the agreement that MultiCare rejected any proposal with safe staffing language. “Putting such language in a contract would make it harder for MultiCare to circumvent it,” the release stated.

The nurses who voted to strike also issued a no-confidence vote against MultiCare CEO Bill Robertson in May, claiming he rejected their staffing plan and an invitation to a town hall meeting.

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MultiCare to lay off over 220 employees due to ‘financial challenges’