Catholic Health System laid off 34 employees in information technology and other business functions this week.

The reason the company cited was unending financial challenges and a requirement to trim expenses as it arises from the pandemic’s latest wave.

Catholic Health said Wednesday, March 2, the cuts is representing just 0.4% of its total payroll of 9,000-plus workers.

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Catholic Health President and CEO Mark Sullivan called the job cuts an “extremely difficult decision to make.”

He also warned that the area’s other health care providers are facing similar financial issues – ranging from pandemic recovery to rising labor costs.

He said: “Other health care providers throughout the region and country are facing the same challenges Catholic Health is experiencing and must look for ways to rebalance the needs of their organizations with the realities of today’s health care environment,”.

The decrease comes after Catholic Health posted consecutive years of operating losses.

The $1.2 billion health system lost $74 million in 2020, even with $87 million in federal relief.

The area’s other health systems also informed big losses in the pandemic’s first year.

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In 2021, Catholic Health reported a $160 million loss, with an estimated 55 percent of that cost attributable to a lengthy strike at Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo in the fall.

Last month, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Catholic Health’s credit rating to non-investment grade, signaling increased risks for investors and potentially driving up borrowing costs for the health system.

Sullivan continued: “The lack of recognition and action by local insurance companies and some elected officials makes these decisions just the beginning of what is to come for other health providers in our region,”

“We hope those in power have the courage to address these challenges immediately and realize this current path will lead to limiting access to care in our region, which would be truly unfortunate.”

Affected employees will receive transition services and other support, such as severance packages and outplacement aid, and will be encouraged to apply for empty positions within Catholic Health, the second-largest health system in Western New York.

Catholic Health said the cut will not affect its efforts to fill clinical and service positions, which have been difficult to fill during the epidemic as personnel has retired, left the sector, or moved into high-paying travel jobs.

Catholic Health said.: “The Covid pandemic and new ways of providing care have changed the course of health care for years to come,”

Source: The Buffalo News

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