Roughly 125 employees at both St. James Hospital campuses in the south suburbs will lose their jobs today.
Franciscan St. James announced Monday afternoon the hospital will lay off 6 percent of its work staff at its Chicago Heights and Olympia Fields campuses.
Hospital officials say the the looming Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is forcing it to shift its business model from in-patient hospital admissions to outpatient care. The intention is to "deliver quality care more efficiently while reducing hospital admissions."
"Under the new law, institutions such as Franciscan St. James are, in fact, encouraged to keep patients out of the hospital, and are penalized for certain hospital re-admissions," reads a press release from Franciscan St. James.
The two Franciscan Express Care urgent care clinics recently opened in Frankfort and Chicago Heights are designed act as alternatives to the now reduced St. James emergency departments. Both locations are open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
“These staff reductions are among several initiatives we have undertaken, such as streamlining patient flow and coordinating care throughout our system, to deliver better outcomes and improve patient satisfaction,” Franciscan St. James President and CEO Seth Warren said in the statement.
While details of the layoffs were not provided, Patch has received unverified reports from a St. James worker of a mandatory employee meeting scheduled for 3 p.m. today.
St. James made news last June when parent company Franciscan Alliance announced its intent to find a buyer for the Chicago Heights and Olympia Fields locations.