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CRMC Making Cuts

By Dan Hust
HARRIS — June 20, 2006 – Cuts are still coming at Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC), but it’s not going to hurt quite as bad, according to CEO Arthur Brien.
“It’s turning out to be much better than we thought it would be,” said Brien. “We’ve been able to reduce the number of people we have to lay off from 53 to 37.”
How? By finding reductions in supplies and other non-salary areas, he explained, and by having those who earn more than $100,000 a year take 10 percent pay cuts (although no such pay cuts will cause an administrator to earn less than their employees, said Brien).
“[These are] things that will have no direct bearing on patients,” Brien remarked of the supplies and salaries cuts.
The majority of the layoffs will occur in non-unionized positions, he added, and people in those positions will be ending their employment this week. The hospital currently employs just over 1,000 people, making it one of the largest employers in Sullivan County.
The whole plan still is estimated to save the hospital more than $4 million this year – a significant step toward addressing a looming $8 million deficit.
While Brien felt that Crystal Run Healthcare’s (CRH’s) May 31 pullout from CRMC caused a dip in admissions – estimated to impact the hospital by as much as $2.5 million – he did not lay sole blame at the feet of CRH.
“[It] has hurt us financially . . . [but] the cost of care keeps going up on an almost daily basis,” he explained, adding that the state has reduced Medicaid funding to CRMC by $1.5 million. “It’s a tough business these days.”
Citing an already “lean” program, Brien said CRMC’s leaders are seeking to avoid any further cuts, but he could not rule them out entirely.
He encouraged residents to continue using the facilities in Harris and Callicoon so as to ensure CRMC’s continued health and viability.

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