Bartlett Regional Hospital announced it is implementing a three-phase action plan to address its estimated $10 million deficit this fiscal year and its anticipated $2 million loss during the upcoming fiscal year. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

Bartlett Regional Hospital announced it is implementing a three-phase action plan to address its estimated $10 million deficit this fiscal year and its anticipated $2 million loss during the upcoming fiscal year. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

‘We’re in unprecedented territory as a hospital’: Bartlett Regional Hospital announces cost-cutting plans

Measures are to address its estimated $10M deficit this fiscal year, $2 million in upcoming year.

Bartlett Regional Hospital announced cost-saving measures to address its estimated $10 million deficit this fiscal year and an anticipated $2 million shortfall during the upcoming fiscal year.

“Really for the first time in our organization’s history are we in a position like this,” said Erin Hardin, director of marketing and communications for the hospital. “We’re in unprecedented territory as a hospital.”

According to the hospital’s announcement Friday afternoon, Bartlett Regional Hospital is implementing a three-phase action plan that includes cost-cutting measures such as hiring restrictions and reductions, cancellation of employee incentive pay and deductions in temporary staffing among other actions outlined. In taking these steps, the hospital stated it expects to save approximately $12 million by the end of this fiscal year on June 30, which will allow it to begin the new fiscal year without a deficit.

“To address our current financial realities and the pressures facing hospitals nationwide, we are enacting critical plans to protect Bartlett’s long-term sustainability and growth,” said the hospital’s recently hired CEO David Keith in the announcement.

According to Hardin, as recently as February 2020 the hospital was generating revenue, however between then and now is when the “uncharted” deficit occurred. The COVID-19 pandemic was cited by the hospital as one of the major factors that led to its financial situation, along with current inflation and labor shortages.

Hardin said managers and directors have been aware of the cost-reduction plan for the past few months, and staff was made aware soon after. She said this week the hospital hosted a question-and-answer session for staff among other informative sessions before the plan was announced to the public Friday afternoon.

“We are not looking at mass layoff of nurses — there is a nationwide shortage — we need every nurse in a clinical staffing area we can get,” Hardin said. “But, we do need to streamline our services, so we are examining individual unit staffing levels and figuring out where we can realign our staff to support our core services.”

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.

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