HONOLULU ̶ Hawaii Health Systems Corporation (HHSC) will implement a system wide reduction in force (RIF), eliminating positions as early as mid-December 2014. The announcement comes after an extensive review of operations, programs and services at each of its five regions’ facilities seeking solutions to address a $48 million shortfall for FY2015.
The board of directors for each region continues to work with their respective region’s management teams to develop and implement contingency plans to meet the financial shortfall. Each region has different expense control strategies available and is examining internal operations on a comprehensive basis from productivity management to work flow processes. Every possible option was explored thoroughly and with patients, residents and employees at the forefront of any decisions made.
“We value our employees tremendously and we really tried to avoid this,” said Alice Hall, Acting President and Chief Executive Officer of HHSC. “Unfortunately, the current financial situation in some regions is not sustainable without significant changes, some of which have resulted in cost saving measures that include a reduction in force.”
All HHSC employees have been informed and individual employees whose positions have been identified for elimination will be notified officially by September 2, 2014. This notification begins a 90-day process in which the impacted employee will have 90 days before his/her last day of employment. During the 90-day period, impacted employees may choose to be placed in a budgeted vacant position, and if none exists, can exercise the “bumping” process as described in applicable collective bargaining agreements. The “bumping” process may then extend the effects of the RIF beyond originally identified positions, a process that could take up to 9 months. Further reductions may occur later in the year.
HHSC facilities face decreased state subsidies and health insurance reimbursements, while operating costs continue to rise and the need for healthcare in a growing population increases. HHSC officials have been meeting with representatives from the state Legislature to discuss strategies and possible long-term solutions.
HHSC operates 13 facilities throughout the state of Hawaii: East Hawaii region: Hilo Medical Center, Ka’u Hospital, Hale Ho’ola Hamakua and Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home; West Hawaii region: Kona Community Hospital and Kohala Hospital; Maui region; Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital, and Lanai Community Hospital; Oahu region: Leahi Hospital and Maluhia; and Kauai region: West Kauai Medical Center, and Samuel Mahelona Memorial Hospital, in addition to two non-profit affiliates. Established in 1996, HHSC is a public benefit corporation of the State of Hawaii. As the state’s safety-net healthcare system, HHSC continues to fulfill the state’s promise to provide quality, hometown healthcare.