CEO CKHA Lori Marshall. June 27, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Sarah Cowan Blackburn News Chatham-Kent)

CKHA Makes Significant Staff Cuts

Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA) has announced it will be making significant staff cuts to recover from debt that has exceeded $20-million.

The details of the 2017/2018 Recovery Plan were announced at CKHA’s meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The overall goal of the plan is improve fiscal stability, while improving patient care and services.

CKHA plans to cut around 26 full-time positions and 15 part-time positions in the 2017/2018 fiscal year.

However, hospital officials also say they are confident those cuts can be made through attrition (retirement, termination, and resignation) because the normal annual turnover rate is approximately 70 staff per year.

CEO Lori Marshall says since September 2016, the hospital has cut 19 leadership roles, which comes out to a 22% reduction in management positions.

“Last year the hospital was able save about $1.9-million in combined management and support services savings rolling into this year. In addition to that, we need about $3-million,” explains Marshall.

Marshall says the reduced number of positions will actually allow for better flow among staff and more efficient operations. For example, rather than having over-staffed periods when there are few patients to care for, now CKHA will adjust the number of staff working to the number of patients that require care.

Marshall realizes how difficult the news must be for staff.

“We know today is a difficult day when people find out the changes. We know some people will have been waiting and [are] very anxious for this news. Now they need to accept it and process it,” says Marshall.

Marshall plans to work closely with staff to make the transition easier.

She says the new-found dollars will go into various investments in equipment, facilities, and services.