Hartford HealthCare moves bring 10 layoffs to Backus

Norwich — About 10 senior and middle management staff at The William W. Backus Hospital are receiving layoff notices this week as part of a reorganization of Hartford HealthCare, the multi-hospital system to which Backus belongs.

Backus spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said Thursday that a total of 20 management staff in the eastern region of Hartford HealthCare are losing their jobs, divided about evenly between Windham and Backus hospitals. Systemwide, about 179 positions are being eliminated from the five acute care hospitals and several affiliated organizations that comprise Hartford HealthCare.

"No patient care positions are being affected," Mawhiney said. "This is about streamlining our regional management team to be more efficient, productive and agile."

Backus affiliated with the Hartford HealthCare system earlier this year. Some of the positions were eliminated due to duplication within the larger system, Mawhiney said.

In addition to the layoffs, there are 17 vacant positions at Windham and Backus that will not be filled. Another eight staff members are leaving due to retirements, resignations or transfers to other posts, he said.

"We're looking at a regional healthcare delivery system, and the leadership and management team has to reflect that," he said.

Backus' current financial situation is strong, Mawhiney said, but Hartford HealthCare's administration saw a need to trim staff "to prepare for changes we're expecting in health care."

The first group of affected staff began learning of the job eliminations on Wednesday, and others were told on Thursday or will learn today. The job cuts are taking effect at various times, Mawhiney said.

None of the jobs being eliminated are part of the unionized workforce, he said.

Earlier this year, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London also announced layoffs and program cuts, attributing them to cuts in Medicare reimbursements, inpatient volume declines and other factors.

j.benson@theday.com

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