Update: UAMS to Cut 600 Positions, Including 258 Occupied

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jan. 8, 2018 8:41 am   2 min read

The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences said Monday it is reducing its workforce by 600 positions, which includes 258 positions that are occupied. 

The move is projected to lower expenses by between $26 million and $30 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30, UAMS spokeswoman Leslie Taylor said. For the entire fiscal year that starts July 1, the savings will be about $60 million. 

Arkansas Business reported in December that the university was looking for ways to cut costs amid a projected a deficit of $72.3 million for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. At the beginning of the fiscal year, UAMS had projected a deficit of $39.8 million. UAMS said it had to cut more than $30 million in expenses in the current fiscal year to comply with its budget as approved by the University of Arkansas' board of trustees. 

"Everything is on the table," Stephanie Gardner, interim chancellor of UAMS, told Arkansas Business last month.

"Over the last several weeks, UAMS leadership has been conducting a comprehensive review of all programs to identify cost savings and make adjustments," Taylor said in a statement on Monday. "However, personnel is our largest expense and we have come to the extremely painful realization that we can't meet our budget without also eliminating jobs."

Taylor said in an interview with Arkansas Business that jobs were being eliminated "across all areas of UAMS," but declined to name specific departments Monday morning because not all employees had been notified. The Arkansas Times reported over the weekend that UAMS eliminated its Office of Global Health.

Taylor said she doesn't expect there to be more layoffs, but she added that UAMS would continue trying to cut expenses and increase revenue.

UAMS is the state's largest public employer with 10,900 employees working in nearly every county in Arkansas.

UAMS' physicians see patients at places such as Arkansas Children's Hospital, the John L. McClellan Memorial Veterans Hospital and in clinics across the state. 

"We also manage a lot of programs, so we work with state and federal agencies," Taylor said. "But … we can't continue to be all things to all people."

The bulk of UAMS' revenue doesn't come from the state but from providing clinical services. 

Taylor said in the statement that, like other academic medical centers around the country, UAMS has had financial challenges for many years, but has always made up for any shortfall by using reserve funds.  

"However, we are depleting our resources and cannot continue to do that and sustain UAMS into the future," Taylor said in the statement. 

At the end of June, UAMS' unrestricted net assets, which would be used to cover a deficit at the end of the fiscal year, were about $77 million. (The deficit includes depreciation, which for the fiscal year that ended June 30 was $66 million.)

Taylor said the employees whose jobs are being eliminated were being notified Monday. 

"Human Resources representatives will also be reaching out to them to provide services to assist them in finding other jobs," she said.



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