In the midst of a population boom demanding more health care services, Banner Health is laying off 145 people.
Employees were notified Monday of the job terminations, which affect primarily administrative staff, said spokesman Bill Byron. Of the 145 people, 46 are in the East Valley.
Although Banner Health is not losing money, the job cuts were necessary to ensure that the state’s largest hospital provider meets its budget targets, Byron said. The health system was off its financial target by at least $5 million.
"Banner Health is very financially solid," he said. "We’re achieving a net income, it’s just not as high as we want it to be."
Banner blamed the shortfall on losses from unpaid medical bills, insurance reimbursement and start-up challenges at Banner Estrella Medical Center in the West Valley.
Physicians have not moved to the area as fast as people have, Byron said, leading to fewer hospitalizations than expected.
There were 40 people laid off from Banner Estrella on Monday, about half of whom were clinicians likely to be reassigned in the Banner system, Byron said.
Other layoffs involved administrative staff employed throughout the Banner system, and programs Banner will discontinue, he said. Banner will close an audiology program and the state’s first sleep center at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, as well as outpatient diabetes education services at Banner Good Samaritan, Banner Thunderbird and Banner Desert medical centers.
Byron said the services are being stopped because they are available elsewhere in the community, and because they are not central to the hospital’s core mission.
The layoffs do not change the fact that the medical field in the Valley needs workers, said Kathleen Goeppinger, president and chief executive officer of Midwestern University in Glendale and chairwoman of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.
"Health care workers are still going to be in demand," she said.