UAMS will reduce workforce by 600 positions, including 258 layoffs: UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Monday, January 8, 2018

UAMS will reduce workforce by 600 positions, including 258 layoffs: UPDATE

Posted By on Mon, Jan 8, 2018 at 9:07 AM

UAMS: Workforce cut by 600.
  • UAMS: Workforce cut by 600.

As we reported over the weekend, UAMS layoffs have begun. A source passes along an email from UAMS interim chancellor sent this morning, making the bad news official. In order to cut more than $30 million in expenses for this fiscal year, Interim Chancellor Stephanie Gardner wrote, "We have no choice but to reduce our workforce by almost 600 positions. We have made every effort to cut unfilled positions where possible, but 258 of the affected positions are currently occupied. The employees whose jobs are being eliminated are being notified today."

Another source tells us that a UAMS police officer is on site at one of the off-campus UAMS clinics to escort someone out of the clinic.

Here's the email sent by Gardner this morning:

Dear UAMS Family,

As I said in our December Town Hall meeting, we must cut in excess of $30 million in expenses this current fiscal year to comply with our budget as approved by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees. UAMS has had financial challenges for many years and we have always made up for any shortfall by using our reserve funds. However, we are depleting our resources and we cannot continue to do that and sustain UAMS into the future.

Over the last several weeks, UAMS leadership has been conducting a comprehensive review of all areas of UAMS to identify cost savings and make adjustments. 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. We have no choice but to reduce our workforce by almost 600 positions. We have made every effort to cut unfilled positions where possible, but 258 of the affected positions are currently occupied. The employees whose jobs are being eliminated are being notified today. Human Resources representatives will also be reaching out to them to provide services to assist them in finding other jobs.

I have been at UAMS for more than 26 years. This is an extremely sad day and the first major reduction in force that I can remember. This is not an action that anyone is taking lightly and it is not being undertaken because of performance issues but simply because we do not have the money to fund everything we have in the past. We must all support each other and especially those colleagues who are leaving us. We are very grateful to them for their many years of service to UAMS and our state.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Gardner, Pharm. D., Ed.D.
Interim Chancellor
As Leslie Peacock reported yesterday, the cuts include defunding the UAMS Office of Global Health. UAMS earlier discontinued the PSYCH TLC program, which provided consultation for Arkansas primary care providers who had pediatric patients with mental health needs, after the Department of Human Services pulled $500,000 in funding.

UPDATE: UAMS Vice Chancellor for Communications Leslie Taylor said this morning that the job cuts will save UAMS between $26 million and $30 million this fiscal year and up to $60 million in FY2019. The cuts are across the entire UAMS system and include doctors. She said notices just went out today and that after everyone is informed the university will give a more detailed picture of what jobs were eliminated. The cuts, she said, "will not affect the quality of care."

In UAMS' statement to the public, Gardner noted that UAMS is the state's largest employer with 10,900 employees working in 73 of the state's 75 counties, and has an estimated financial impact of $3 billion.
UAMS physicians provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center, and clinics throughout the state. UAMS’ colleges produce the majority of physicians, pharmacists, researchers, nurses and other health professionals practicing in Arkansas, and it partners with other providers and state and federal agencies to staff and manage programs where there is a need. However, UAMS, unlike other state universities, does not receive the majority of its funding from the state. It is dependent on its hospital and clinics to cross-subsidize its research and education missions and provide 77% of its funding.

Even with the cuts, UAMS is still running a deficit. The 2018 fiscal year budget included a $39 million deficit, a figure that could reach $72 million. Taylor said UAMS is looking at other cost-saving measures in administrative functions, like billing, access to appointments to bring in more patients and cuts to hospital stays. It has contracted with Huron Consulting of Chicago to look at such changes.

UAMS' hospital is the state's only Level One trauma center. It also is the only hospital in the state to provide such services as kidney and liver transplantation.

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