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September 1, 2010

AGH cuts: 7 jobs, 2 programs

Northeast Hospital Corp. has so far eliminated seven full-time jobs at Addison Gilbert Hospital, and may soon close two outpatient programs as part of the health care system's current $15 million cost cutting plan, CEO Ken Hanover has told Gloucester city councilors.

The job cuts in Gloucester are part of an ongoing round of 100 layoffs throughout the hospital chain — which includes Beverly Hospital and BayRidge Hospital in Lynn — to adjust to falling revenues and a rapidly evolving national health care system.

Asked by councilors during their Tuesday night meeting whether he expects this round of cuts at Addison Gilbert to be the last in the company's current downsizing, Hanover declined to discuss future plans, but said that, with the pace of change, more cuts are not unlikely.

"I wish I could say it is over," Hanover said, "but it probably isn't."

The seven "full-time equivalent" jobs being eliminated at Addison Gilbert will likely involve more than that number of actual workers, because some of them have part-time positions.

The layoffs in Gloucester compare with 47 full-time equivalent jobs eliminated so far at Beverly Hospital in the latest round of cutbacks.

Of the total $15 million budget gap Northeast identified in its fiscal 2011 budget, which begins in October, around $5 million of the cuts needed to fill it are expected to come from layoffs.

When the current round of layoffs is complete, Addison Gilbert will employ 334 people, compared the 347 workers it had in April.

Hanover would not say which outpatient programs Northeast is thinking of closing at Addison Gilbert, because they may still be kept open, but he said that both had seen diminishing usage by patients.

Overall, the need to cut costs has been driven by a drop in the number of patients admitted to Northeast's hospitals, on top of reductions in the amount the government and insurers reimburse health care providers.

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