SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Mercy Hospital has announced layoffs to combat the costs of providing healthcare.
In a statement today, Mercy says less than one percent of its total 45,000 member workforce is impacted. It wouldn’t give a specific number for the Springfield hospital.
The hospital pointed to several factors as to a reason for layoffs, one being the higher costs of healthcare. State representative for the 135th district, Steve Helms, pointed to a problem affecting many hospitals: a lack of transparency.
“Hospitals don’t really know what their costs are,” Helms said. “They don’t know how much money is coming in, they don’t know how much money is going out.”
Helms believes a lack of information is leading to Mercy Hospital letting go of some employees. Helms says he knows this is a serious problem.
“It’s something we got to get under control,” Helms said.
Missouri had the chance to expand its medicaid under the affordable care act, but chose not to.
“75 percent of all Missouri budget goes for healthcare, education, mental health and other social programs,” Helms said. “So, another $100 or $150M on expanding medicaid would cut into those programs.”
Medicare and medicaid reimbursement have been lower than private insurance rates for years. This is long before debates over Obamacare came into play.
What we cannot verify is how much the lower reimbursement rates directly affected Mercy’s decision to issue layoffs. But, given the reimbursement rates, hospital layoffs across the region and country may continue.