Wash.-based health care system to cut 500 jobs

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — A Vancouver, Wash.-based health care system that operates in Washington, Oregon and Alaska says it will cut about 500 jobs, most of them in southwest Washington.

PeaceHealth said Tuesday the jobs will be cut through a combination of layoffs, leaving positions unfilled and reducing employee hours. Executives said the cuts will target administrative and support positions.

The Columbian reports that about 340 of the lost jobs will be in the system’s Columbia Network of southwest Washington — with about 175 of those coming as layoffs.

PeaceHealth officials say the cuts are needed because of factors including cutbacks in reimbursement related to federal and state health care reforms and the upcoming loss of a Kaiser Permanente contract. That loss will mean sharply reduced patient numbers.

The Washington State Nurses Association voiced concern, saying in a statement that cuts to hospital staff at medical centers in Vancouver and Longview “will certainly have an impact on operations and day-to-day care.”

PeaceHealth employs about 16,000 people in the three states.

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