News & Events

Boston Medical plans spring job reductions

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Consolidating services will lead to cuts

By Robert Weisman
Globe Staff / March 16, 2011

Boston Medical Center plans to eliminate an unspecified number of jobs this spring as it moves to consolidate services in the face of continued financial deficits caused by cuts in reimbursement rates.

The safety-net hospital, which serves a large population of low-income city residents, widened its operating loss to $25.7 million for the year ending Sept. 30, compared with a $24.5 million deficit during the previous 12 months. Officials blamed the downturn on reductions in payments by government insurers and private health plans.

Members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, which represents about 600 nurses at Boston Medical, were scheduled to meet last night after being notified that the South End hospital was proposing to shed 60 to 70 jobs and move an intensive care unit from its East Newton Street to its Harrison Avenue wing, according to union leaders.

“We are very concerned about the impact these cuts will have, not only on our nurses, but also on patients and the community,’’ said David Schildmeier, union spokesman. “We are expecting to be bargaining with the hospital over these changes and their impact.’’

Jennifer Watson, Boston Medical Center spokeswoman, confirmed that job reductions are being considered, but said the number of positions affected will not be determined for several weeks. Watson said cuts at the teaching hospital, affiliated with the Boston University School of Medicine, could include other employees in addition to nurses.

Consolidating services “will allow the hospital to better respond to fluctuation in patient volumes and eliminate redundant services, staff to demand, improve operational efficiency, and enhance our high standards of care and patient safety,’’ Boston Medical said in a statement yesterday. The hospital was formed through the 1996 merger of Boston City Hospital and neighboring University Hospital.

Boston Medical Center, which consolidated its emergency department last July, had the equivalent of about 4,500 full-time employees as of Sept. 30, including about 1,500 nurses.

While the Massachusetts Nurses Association represents nurses at the former University Hospital, nurses at the former City Hospital are represented by the Service Employees International Union.

Robert Weisman can be reached at