Clovis News

Fresno, Clovis hospitals to cut jobs

Roughly 150 office and support workers with Community Medical Centers will lose their jobs within the next two weeks because of falling government payments to the center's hospitals in Fresno and Clovis.

Most of the job cuts will happen at Community Regional Medical Center, the centers' largest hospital, and in its corporate office, said Community Medical Centers spokesman John Zelezny.

The layoffs are in response to cutbacks in reimbursements from California's Medi-Cal and the federal Medicare programs.

The centers' hospitals -- Community Regional, Fresno Heart and Surgical Hospital and Clovis Community Medical Center -- will get about $4 million less this year in Medi-Cal payments. "That's happening now," Zelezny said.

Further revenue cuts are "on the horizon," Zelezny said. "We know we're going to take hits in years to come."

California hospitals will lose 0.25% of federal payments for Medi-Care patients during the current fiscal year that began April 1, said Jan Emerson, spokeswoman for the California Hospital Association in Sacramento.

Over the next 10 years, California hospitals will lose $14.8 billion in Medicare payments.

The state's "safety net" hospitals -- like Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno -- that see a high number of Medicare and Medi-Cal patients also receive extra federal and state payments, Emerson said. That extra money will be cut by $4.8 billion in the next decade.

In April, 52% of Community Regional Medical Center's patients were on Medi-Cal, Zelezny said. That's up from the roughly 40% of patients on Medi-Cal in previous years.

"It hurts to do layoffs, to do cuts of any kind," Zelezny said. "But we have to come up with leaner and leaner models for providing hospital care."

There is not a hiring freeze at the centers' facilities, Zelezny said. While some positions will be cut, other staff will be added in areas of specialized nursing, information systems and pharmacy.

The not-for-profit Community Medical Centers operates hospitals, outpatient centers and long-term care facilities in Fresno, Clovis and Oakhurst.