Fletcher Allen cuts management jobs

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(Host) The state’s largest hospital is cutting 30 management jobs as part of a sweeping reorganization plan. The shake-up requires current employees to reapply for jobs as some positions have been changed or eliminated.

VPR’s John Dillon reports:

(Dillon) It’s a nerve-wracking time to be a management employee at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.

About 100 of the 400 management positions have been merged, changed or eliminated. Mike Noble is a hospital spokesman.

(Noble) “It’s a question of looking at the various positions that we have and seeing if the current titles make sense relative to the function of the job, looking at the job itself in some cases and seeing if it could be done a different way. If there are duplicate jobs then combining them or similar functions into one job -so it’s a host of different things.”

(Dillon) Many management-level employees – including all ten of the hospital’s vice presidents – will either have to reapply for their old jobs or accept a severance package.

Not everyone who wants a job will get rehired. The hospital will cut 30 positions overall.

According to Noble, the changes will save Fletcher Allen between $1.5 and 2 million in annual salary and benefit costs. But he says that saving money wasn’t the main reason for the reorganization.

(Noble) “Their goal wasn’t a financial goal or a number of positions goal. Their goal was to look at the organization and design an organization structure that looked more efficient and effective than the current one.”

(Dillon) Noble says the plan was put together by a leadership team within the hospital. But the hospital has dealt with other labor issues by hiring outside consultants.

Fletcher Allen has reported that it spent $760,000 on a Kentucky consulting firm during a union drive by hospital nurses. In 2002, the nurses voted to unionize by a 2-to-1 margin.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m John Dillon.

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