Walla Walla General Hospital completes staff cuts


WALLA WALLA — A string of layoffs at Walla Walla General Hospital has ended with 20 people losing their jobs.

In January the medical facility began paring staff by closing seven of 30 leadership positions, a move that reflected the health-care industry as a whole, hospital spokeswoman Kristi Spurgeon Johnson said last month.

Staff restructuring eventually expanded hospitalwide, reducing a group of about 450 employees by 20 people. Another 20 or so employees have seen their jobs changed — from reduced hours to additional responsibilities.

“There are no plans for further changes or reductions,” Spurgeon Johnson said Thursday.

All positions were considered, starting with administration and managers, she said. “We tried to be careful. We tried to think about the roles and the (department) places.”

A tough financial year for the hospital, a drop in patient admissions in Walla Walla and industrywide Medicaid reimbursement changes called for action, Spurgeon Johnson said.

The financial changes at General Hospital offer breathing room and “lets us say who we are and what we’re providing, rather than looking at income levels every month,” she said.

She added it will continue to tweak costs, to achieve fiscal goals and continue the quality of care.

“Health care is so competitive now, if we are not a good value patients will go somewhere else,” she said.


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