Affordable Care Act, mergers could pose challenges for healthcar - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Affordable Care Act, mergers could pose challenges for healthcare providers

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- KentuckyOne Health says layoffs are coming, but won't specify how many people are losing their jobs. 

A statement sent to employees Monday says expenses don't match revenue, and positions must be eliminated. KentuckyOne operates U of L Hospital, Jewish Hospital and St. Mary's Healthcare with a total of 15,000 workers throughout Kentuckiana.  

A video from CEO Ruth Brinkley posted online last month may have hinted what was to come.

"Each of our facilities and sites of care within KentuckyOne will be impacted by the changes we must make," she said. "Our challenges are substantial. We must improve our performance by $218 million before the end of fiscal year 2015."

In the video, Brinkley said healthcare reform has, in part, shifted the way healthcare is organized and delivered, pointing out other healthcare systems facing similar financial strains. 

"A big part of it is that they don't even know how it's going to affect them. They're trying to forecast into the future how their business model should change," IUS economics professor Eric Schansberg says about the Affordable Care Act. 

But he says there are other factors to take into consideration.

"If you're merging, it's very common to have layoffs," Schansberg said. 

KentuckyOne Health was formed in 2012 through a merger of Jewish Hospital, St. Mary's Healthcare and St. Joseph's health system in Lexington. Last year, the company took over most operations at University of Louisville Hospital through a partnership. 

"I think the ACA definitely changes the playing field, but part of this is just what happens when you have mergers, and it's very hard to separate out what's mergers and what's ACA," Schansberg said. 

A spokeswoman for KentuckyOne would not release more specific information regarding what efforts have been made so far to reduce expenses. She says the company will not release the number of employees affected because the notification process is still underway. A letter to employees says the layoffs are system wide. 

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