Baptist Health Laying Off 170 Workers

Baptist Health of Little Rock said Tuesday it is laying off 170 of its workers across its network.

The layoffs should be completed by the end of the week. The cuts will "not impact the quality of clinical patient care, … and they are consistent with actions other hospitals have taken," said Baptist Health spokesman Mark Lowman in a statement emailed to Arkansas Business.

Baptist Health has hospitals in Little Rock, North Little Rock and Arkadelphia and about 7,300 workers. The layoffs mainly will target employees who aren't nurses.

"We are undertaking a number of initiatives that will position our organization to address the challenges of health reform and severe federal budget cuts," Lowman said in the statement. "Baptist Health has worked to reduce non salary expenses, gain efficiencies in all aspects of operations through consolidation of services and simplification of processes."

Lowman also cited "a difficult and challenging environment of substantially less government reimbursement, burdensome government regulations, rapidly rising costs of supplies, increasing charity care and bad debt, and the need for technology and medical innovations" as a reason for the layoffs.

Lowman declined to comment further.

Baptist Health's flagship hospital, Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock, reported total patient revenue of $1.49 billion in 2011 and a net income of nearly $15 million. In 2010, it had $1.4 billion in patient revenue and a net income of $22.2 million.