PeaceHealth eliminating hundreds of jobs to close budget gap

Needing to close a $130 million budget shortfall, PeaceHealth, which operates St. Joseph hospital in Bellingham, plans to cut 500 jobs, the health provider’s employees have been told.

Most of job losses will come from PeaceHealth’s Columbia Network, which includes medical centers in Longview, Wash., and Vancouver, Wash., where the provider’s headquarters are located, according to a report from The Portland Business Journal.

The Bellingham Herald reports that up to 20 jobs in Whatcom County could be included in the reductions.

PeaceHealth executives have attributed their $130 million deficit to financial challenges of fewer patients, rising costs and an expensive transition to electronic health records, which is mandated by the new federal health care reform law.

PeaceHealth’s St. Joseph Medical Center is Whatcom County’s largest employer, and its only hospital. The center employs more than 2,700 people.

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