What's with TENET? - page 2

The complete article can be viewed at: May 3, 2003 E-mail story Print Tenet to Allow Two Unions to Organize The hospital chain apparently seeks labor peace by permitting... Read More

  1. by   pickledpepperRN
    Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA)

    May 20, 2003 Tuesday


    Tenet lays off 32 local employees;
    Company says care won't be affected

    By Ronette King; Business writer

    The troubles of Tenet Healthcare Corp. are starting to filter down to the local level, as 32 workers at three hospitals and the regional office were laid off this week.

    Meanwhile, the chief of Tenet's Memorial Medical Center has resigned.

    Tenet Healthcare, the nation's No. 2 hospital operator, owns seven hospitals in Louisiana, including three where layoffs were announced: Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans, Doctors Hospital in Jefferson and Meadowcrest Hospital in Gretna. Twenty-nine people lost their jobs at those hospitals, company representatives said Monday. Another three workers at the company's regional office in Kenner were laid off.

    Hospital representatives at each office issued similar statements about the possible effects of and reasons for the layoffs.

    "This will not affect patient care at our two campuses," said Sandra Cordray, community relations manager at Memorial. "The decision was made after careful consideration of our patient needs and structure of our current operation."

    No further layoffs are expected, the company said.

    David Dunlap is leaving his post as chief executive officer of Memorial Medical Center after 2 1/2 years with the facility, which includes the Baptist Hospital campus Uptown and the Mercy campus in Mid-City. He will take the CEO job at CareAlliance Health System, a three-hospital not-for-profit chain in Charleston, S.C. His resignation was announced Friday and will take effect June 13, Cordray said.

    In the meantime, Debbie Keel, chief executive of Kenner Regional Medical Center, will take over as interim CEO of Memorial, Cordray said.

    The layoffs appear to be a reflection of the turmoil at the corporate level and the company's plans for reducing costs and improving profit margins.

    In March, Tenet said it would reduce nonpatient care expenses by at least $100 million a year to improve operating efficiency and profit margins. Most of the savings would come from staff and expense reductions in corporate and hospital departments and areas not related to patient care, according to a company statement.

    Last week Tenet reported a first-quarter loss after it changed its policy for billing the federal government for certain patients and took charges for restructuring. The company reported a net loss of $20 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with net income of $278 million, or 55 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

    Tenet is facing pressure from disgruntled shareholders demanding changes in the board of directors and pushing to get rid of senior management.

    There also is an effort to unionize among nurses at several of its facilities around the country.

    The California Nurses Association, which is organizing nurses around the country, has planned a meeting in New Orleans at the Fairmont Hotel on May 27.

    Among other changes, the company, which is based in Santa Barbara, Calif., said it planned to sell or consolidate 14 hospitals, using the money for a stock buy-back. Tenet owns and operates 114 hospitals in 16 states.

    None of Tenet's Louisiana hospitals is on the list to be sold.

    Other hospitals that are part of the Tenet Louisiana HealthSystem are North Shore Hospital, North Shore Psychiatric Hospital and St. Charles General.

    Tenet stock closed Monday at $15.96, down 12 cents. A year ago, its stock was $71.

    . . . . . . .

    Ronette King can be reached at rking@timespicayune.com or (504) 826-3308.

    GRAPHIC: David Dunlap Memorial CEO is leaving in June to join three