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Summa Health eliminating about 300 positions as it faces ‘staggering operating losses’

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AKRON, Ohio -- Summa Health will be eliminating about 300 positions following "staggering operating losses."

The announcement was made to employees in a letter from Dr. Cliff Deveny, Interim President and CEO.

Deveny said this year, inpatient and outpatient volumes are dramatically down. According to the letter, current projections show them going from a profit of $30 million last year to a loss of more than $60 million this year.

The interim president and CEO said they have "considerable cash" in reserve to protect them in the short-term, but, several changes will be made over the next month:

  • We are eliminating approximately 300 positions. Roughly half of these positions are currently open and we will work closely with those impacted individuals to provide outplacement services. While the primary goal is to eliminate administrative layers in the organization, all functions are affected.
  • We will be discontinuing certain services that are better provided in other more appropriate settings. We have to stick to our core mission to the community.
  • We are reevaluating our ongoing capital needs. All new projects must be evaluated against our critical strategic goals. The West Tower project will continue as scheduled because, as we've noted, this investment is necessary to help Summa achieve its long-term mission.
  • We will consolidate units and services to make sure we are operating as efficiently as possible. We cannot afford to maintain multiple half-full units or have duplicate operations in multiple functions.

Dr. Deveny said there are multiple factors, both internal and external, impacting the organization:

  • The healthcare industry is changing rapidly, and hospital systems are being hurt by what is occurring in Washington and in state capitals across the country. As a smaller, locally controlled health system, we suffer disproportionately.
  • When a patient enters one of the larger systems in the region, they tend to utilize other caregivers and specialists within that system. Too often, that is not the case here. As an organization dedicated to population health, we must do a better job of providing for the complete health needs of patients within our system.
  • A growing number of independent physicians, including some larger private practices, have admitted they are intentionally not referring their patients to Summa Health and claiming concerns about our quality of care. Despite these assertions, the quality of our care has been validated by external accreditation bodies, and we continue to deliver high-quality, compassionate care in our community. Ultimately, this goes back to our need to strengthen and repair relationships, and the time has come for Summa and our independent physicians to come together and commit to working more closely with one another for the betterment of our community.
  • We are not working hard enough across our entire system to make patient access a priority. Simply put, the number of days that pass before our patients are able to see their physician must improve immediately.

Summa Health is working with employees to come up with possible solutions.