The following was issued Monday, November 1, as one of a series of messages from Dr. William N. Kelley as CEO of the Penn Health System to the System's members.

PennHealth: The Second-Round Cutbacks

Today [November 1, 1999] supervisors will begin notifying Health System employees affected by the workforce reduction in our hospitals and corporate service areas. This is a particularly painful and difficult measure that we must take as part of our financial-recovery plan. I believe it's important for all of you to be familiar with the details of this process.

As you know, the first phase of our workforce reduction occurred in May, when we eliminated 1,100 positions, or 9% of the health services workforce. The phase that begins today will affect approximately 1,100 positions from the Health System's corporate staff and four owned hospitals. About half of those positions are already vacant. As people have left the Health System for retirement or other opportunities over the last several months, many of their positions have not been refilled. Through careful management, our supervisors have been able to restructure work and redistribute duties among the remaining staff.

The third phase of our workforce reduction will take place before June 30, 2000, and will include another 600 positions from other areas of UPHS, including our primary-care network, physician-practice plan, multispecialty facilities, and home-care groups. By the end of this fiscal year, we will have eliminated close to 2,800 positions, or approximately 20% of our health services workforce.

We are committed to supporting these staff members through the transition process. To that end, I am pleased to announce the creation of the UPHS Career Center at 3930 Chestnut St. The center is being operated by Manchester, a leading career-transition firm, and supported by the UPHS Staffing Department. Employees are invited to take advantage of a full range of services, including: one-on-one career counseling; career-transition workshops; assistance with state unemployment compensation applications; and access to the JobMatch System, office space, secretarial support, fax machines, photocopiers, and computers. The center is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The number is 215-615-2254. Please make sure your staff members are aware of this valuable resource.

Where jobs are being eliminated, we will redesign work or improve processes so that our hospitals can continue to provide the high-quality patient care for which we are known. Everything is being done to protect our core mission, which is providing the best quality care in the world. As you are aware, our institution's preeminence has been recognized nationally in many ways in the last few years. I am confident that we will experience the same level of success in our effort to cut costs and restore our financial viability. You can be assured that we will do so while maintaining our excellent quality of care. Our patients are--and always will be--our first priority.

I have no doubt that the aggressive measures we are taking now will place us at an advantage in the near future. We will emerge from this anxious time a stronger organization. But I also acknowledge that we have some difficult days ahead of us. We are all affected by these losses from our staff. There will likely be tough spots along the way as we adjust and adapt to these changes. I ask for your patience and your continued support as we go through this process together. And I look forward to working with you in meeting the needs of our patients into the next millennium.

Almanac, Vol. 46, No. 10, November 2, 1999