Dartmouth-Hitchcock Announces Reduction in Force

November 15, 2011
Lebanon, NH

Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) today began implementation of a reduction in the size of its workforce, notifying approximately 50 employees system-wide of the elimination of their positions. The action comes as the health system works to fill a $100 million budget deficit created by increasing costs and decreasing reimbursements, all within a rapidly shifting health care environment.

"I am extremely sorry this action is necessary," wrote D-H CEO James N. Weinstein, in a message to all of Dartmouth-Hitchcock's 8.500 employees. "While our Voluntary Early Retirement Offer and other streamlining efforts have allowed us to make up a significant portion of our budget shortfall, the remaining gap and continued challenges we face force us to take the step of further reducing the size of our workforce."

On November 4, Weinstein told employees at a Town Hall meeting that up to 100 positions would be eliminated over the next two months.

According to Chief Human Resources Officer Alan Weston, none of the positions eliminated are directly connected to patient care: "Throughout this process, maintaining the integrity and excellence of patient care has been our paramount goal. Our nurses, physicians and support staff continue to work on ways that provide excellent care to patients and support for our families, even as we face continued pressure on costs."

"It is not lost on anyone inside Dartmouth-Hitchcock that we are impacting the lives of our staff. These people have worked diligently and in support of our mission and vision, and their departure is our loss."

Terminated employees will receive a severance package with the option to receive post employment medical and dental benefits paid by D-H through the end of 2011. Additional resources offered include job search assistance, counseling, and a variety of supports through the Employee Assistance Program. All of the employment terminations will be effective by November 18, 2011.

"For many of us, those whose jobs are being eliminated are not simply co-workers, but close members of our teams, our friends and our neighbors," said Dr. Weinstein. "These are times of great change in health care...but change is often difficult and comes with sacrifice. Today is certainly one of those times."

Dartmouth-Hitchcock has approximately 8,500 employees. Of those, about 6,500 are based at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH. The balance are primarily located at major clinic sites in Manchester, Concord, Nashua, and Keene.

Personnel costs consume by far the largest share of the health system's annual $1.3 billion budget, making up more than 62 percent of the annual budget.

Weston said it is likely some of the terminated employees will be eligible to fill other positions at D-H that have been left vacant by the recent early retirement offering. "We certainly hope and expect that those people impacted by today's reduction will consider applying for open positions."

"As this institution has done in the past, we will adapt to...change and continue our tradition of offering the best care to our patients, their families, and our communities," wrote Weinstein in his all-staff message. "Together, we will weather this challenge, and those to come."

About Dartmouth-Hitchcock: Dartmouth-Hitchcock is a national leader in evidence-based and patient-centered health care. The system includes hundreds of physicians, specialists, and other providers who work together at different locations to meet the health care needs of patients in northern New England. In addition to primary care services at local community practices, Dartmouth-Hitchcock patients have access to specialists in almost every area of medicine, as well as world-class research at Dartmouth Medical School and centers of excellence including The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy & Clinical Practice (TDI).

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