Orlando Health to eliminate 400 positions

Layoffs to affect all 8 locations, begin Friday

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando Health will cut down its workforce by up to 400 positions for the first time in its nearly 100-year history, according to hospital officials.

The reductions will affect all eight of its hospital locations and the first phase of layoffs started last Friday, hospital officials said. The next round of layoffs will begin after the holidays.

The hospitals affected include Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, along with Orlando Regional Medical Center, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and several other hospital branches.

"Healthcare has been adding jobs throughout the recession, so to suddenly to see layoffs announced and those layoffs being linked to uncertainties about healthcare reform,"  said economist Sean Snaith. "If this is the type of surprises that are sort of embedded in the healthcare reform law then it could be the start of a trend."

The company cites changes in healthcare reform, medicare and medicaid for the layoffs. The hospital said they expect a reduction in Medicare and Medicaid payments, meaning they need to cut costs.

Orlando Health has 16,000 employees throughout its branches, so the 400 layoffs represent 2 to 3 percent of its staff.

Hospital officials said some projects will be stopped, but the $300 million expansion and renovation of Orlando Regional Medical Center won't be affected.

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