Sacred Heart Announces Job Cuts

SPOKANE – The local medical community is bracing for more job losses after Sacred Heart Medical Center announced it was laying off 19 positions Wednesday afternoon.

The announcement comes just one day after Deaconess Medical Center revealed plans to lay off five percent of its employees.

Both Sacred Heart and Deaconess say the cuts will not affect patient care as the positions cut at both hospitals are classified as non-clinical, administrative, support and leadership positions.

As the unemployment rate rises so do the number of uninsured patients, forcing hospitals to pick up more of the tab. Sacred Heart anticipates state budget cuts to affect its budget as well.

In addition to the staff cuts, Sacred Heart is freezing senior executive pay, reducing discretionary spending and not filling vacant positions.

The last time Sacred Heart cut this many positions was at least three years ago.

“It’s a significant announcement.  It is very regretful that we have to reduce staff that have served our patients and our patients needs,” Patrick Clarry, the vice president for Human Resources for Providence Health Care said.

A union representing employees at Deaconess believes the cuts will affect patient care. The union released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying if “nurses and direct patient care staff are stretched to cover additional jobs patients will feel the difference.”

Sacred Heart says its possible more staff cuts may be on the way. The hospital says it will have a better idea what those cuts will be as the state finalizes its budget.