Brigham and Women’s Offers Buyouts to 1,600 Employees

The hospital is trying to cut costs in a difficult healthcare economy.

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Photo by Alex Lau

Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) has offered voluntary buyouts to 1,600 staffers, officials from the hospital confirmed Thursday. Depending on how many people accept the offer, layoffs likely loom in the distance.

The buyouts are meant to curb costs at a time when many medical centers are struggling to keep up with flat-lining payments and ballooning costs, not to mention uncertain federal funding moving forward. While the Brigham—which employs 18,000 and is one of the country’s top-ranked hospitals—is reportedly profitable, it is not immune to these factors.

The hospital, which is owned by Partners HealthCare, also recently completed an expensive addition, and began using a pricey new software system in 2015.

“You can’t just keep spending more and more and more and not making any more,” spokeswoman Erin McDonough told the Boston Globe. “We know we need to work differently to sustain our mission for the future. We’re really looking at how you reduce costs.”

Buyouts, which come with one year of base pay, were offered to non-union employees—the hospital must get permission from unions before offering buyouts to member employees—ages 60 and older, except for physicians, faculty, and research staff. It is unclear how many positions the hospital is looking to cut in all.

BWH generates roughly $2.5 billion in revenue per year. Its parent company, however, reported an operating loss of $108 million during the last fiscal year, citing major reductions in insurance activity.

Last year’s near-miss nursing strike at BWH, which was averted by signing a three-year contract extension, also cost Partners $24 million.