Catholic Medical Center to lay off 54 workers, citing ‘financial stress’

By PAUL CUNO-BOOTH

New Hampshire Public Radio

Published: 04-22-2024 12:27 PM

Catholic Medical Center in Manchester will lay off 54 employees as a response to financial difficulties, hospital leaders said.

President and CEO Alex Walker announced the layoffs to staff in a memo Thursday. The hospital will also cut some workers’ hours and eliminate a number of open positions, reducing overall staffing levels by the equivalent of 142 full-time positions.

Walker said rising costs, lower reimbursement for services, shifting demographics and changes in the payor mix — the share of patient revenue that comes from Medicare and Medicaid vs. privately insured and self-paying patients — had all contributed to the hospital’s “financial stress.”

“These reductions, paired with other cost-saving strategies and a concentrated effort on increasing volumes and revenue growth, will better position CMC for the future,” Walker said in the memo, which a hospital spokesperson provided to NHPR.

This comes as Catholic Medical Center is in negotiations to be acquired by HCA Healthcare, the for-profit health care giant that also owns hospitals in Portsmouth, Rochester and Derry, and elsewhere across the country.

Walker told NHPR last fall that the deal is necessary for the hospital’s long-term financial viability.

“The strategy of remaining a standalone, independent Catholic hospital in Manchester, New Hampshire, long term, is probably not a winning strategy,” he said at the time.

Catholic Medical Center says it hopes to reach a final agreement with HCA soon. The deal would still need approval from state regulators.

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The New Hampshire Department of Justice blocked a proposed merger between Catholic Medical Center and Dartmouth Health in 2022, saying it would reduce competition and potentially drive up prices.

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