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AR Hospitals Grapple with Federal Budget Cuts

The state hospital association responds to news of layoffs from Baptist Health.
News of Baptist Health eliminating 170 jobs was not a complete surprise to the Arkansas Hospital Association where leaders say hospitals across the state have been trying to re-organize for the last 4 to 5 years.

Executive Vice President Paul Cunningham says administrators have been getting creative trying to make up for lower medicare reimbursements under new health reform laws and now it seems they've cut all they can and jobs may be next.

"It was surprising to hear from Baptist but it wasn't totally unexpected. It would not be surprising to hear from any given hospital in the state. We know many are suffering the effects of that and it could mean loss of more jobs in the state," he says.

Cunningham says there may help on the way now that state lawmakers have approved medicaid expansion, the state's private option could help fill in the growing money gap.

"It's a positive point. We favored it ,we think the end result will be good for hospitals and communities," he says.

According to the statement, the 170 positions account for less than 2.5 percent of jobs within the Baptist Health System.
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