Last updated: August 25. 2013 7:59AM - 754 Views

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LIMA — In the midst of massive, rapid health care changes, St. Rita’s Health Partners is consolidating some jobs and eliminating others in areas not related to direct patient care.

The changes began in earnest Friday, as staff in the health care organization’s accounting department learned. Some of the jobs are being moved to Cincinnati, home to St. Rita’s parent, Catholic Health Partners. Some no longer exist. The accounting jobs are the first in many “back office” tasks to go through St. Rita’s restructuring this year, St. Rita’s Health Partners CEO Bob Baxter said Friday.

"We produce a service that is increasingly unaffordable. Our vision to address that is to move how we provide care from fee-for-service to more of a value-based model: Increasing our focus on preventative health, primary care, population health management,” Baxter said. “That requires a different workforce than what we’ve always done. We’re in the process of reconfiguring that.”

Baxter declined to say how many employees are affected. He did say CHP’s goal is to remove 15 percent of the company’s back office expenses, and much of that is labor. That number doesn’t mean 15 percent of each specific hospital’s back office staffing will be affected.

Some employees are being offered jobs in Cincinnati. Others are being offered other positions in Lima or offered severance packages.

Catholic Health Partners is cutting costs by standardizing functions such as accounting and payroll, Baxter said. CHP also is looking for cost cuts in food service and property management.

St. Rita’s Finance Department is the first back office department to go through significant changes, Baxter said. While it’s mostly been consolidation, other departments could see different outcomes in the next year.

The departments will maintain some “footprint” in Lima, Baxter said.

“There will still be people here for patients to work with, people who need immediate response,” Baxter said. “It will just be a smaller footprint … We’ve always made changes in the past; we’ve grown departments and shrunk others, changed how we’ve provided care. It’s part of the process.”

Catholic Health Partners, a nonprofit health care group, operates hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies and physician practices. It employs about 33,000 people in Ohio and Kentucky, making it Ohio’s sixth largest employer. It has moved billing, claims and technical support, among other things, to a Cincinnati facility that opened in 2012.

Catholic Health Partners and St. Rita’s are hiring for other positions. St. Rita’s Medical Center is hiring for critical care and other specialized nurses. St. Rita’s has created more than 400 jobs since 2005, Baxter said, as it responds to the changing health care landscape.

The Dayton Daily News reported a growing new job within the health group is a care coordinator who works with patients who have chronic diseases. They follow up with patients after procedures to make sure patients take medications and meet appointments, in an effort to reduce preventable inpatient re-admissions.

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