Am I Next? Job Layoffs at Providence Health & Services

One of Oregon’s largest private-sector employers has suffered significant operating losses and is now embarking on a cost-cutting campaign that will feature a reduction-in-force by approximately 210 employees against a workforce of about 111,000 employees. This does not include employees lost to normal attrition or consciously leaving administrative positions unfilled. 

The real extent of the layoffs may not be readily apparent as the enterprise turns toward using higher-cost professional staffing agencies and contract employees to augment staff when necessary and to provide a level of flexibility in staffing. It appears that the trend in a number of major industries is to use staffing contractors to isolate companies from the legal responsibilities of dealing with layoffs and other critical personnel issues.

Like most major health care operations, one of the biggest complaints in low Medicaid reimbursement levels. Some states have deliberately increased their Medicaid population knowing that the federal government would pick up all or at least most of the tab under the Affordable Care Act. It appears that Medicaid patients seem to require a greater level of care than those who were previously covered by insurance, especially those who are seeking long-delayed medical treatment for pre-existing conditions. An aging population is also exerting stress on the health care system. 

Let us not forget that Providence established a $150 million venture capital fund with about 100 employees that is headed by a former Amazon executive, Aaron Martin, and runs its own business incubator. By investing in other companies, Providence believes that it can profit from innovation as well as improve and enhance existing healthcare services. Hopefully, these innovations will be more than just another tracking app with little or no real medical-level accuracy or use.