The Billings Clinic is planning to lay off between 25 and 30 employees to cut costs following months of financial distress, hospital leaders confirmed to MTN News Wednesday.
Five of those workers have already been laid off as of Wednesday, according to the hospital.
Billings Clinic CEO Clint Seger told MTN News the cuts will help the organization "restructure" and make up for its $4.5 million monthly shortfall. But one employee at the hospital told MTN that many employees are fearful of what cuts could come next.
"We're struggling," said the employee, who asked to remain anonymous to avoid potential backlash from management. "It's scary. We're worried."
That employee spoke with MTN over the phone and shared the current emotions running through the hospital.
"I would say many employees are very uneasy right now," she said. "It's just the unknown. A lot of us have families that we need to feel confident that we'll have a job and be able to support them."
In March, a leaked memo outlined ways the hospital was seeking to fill the $4.5 million a month budget shortfall, including a companywide hiring freeze, pay cuts for hospital executives and doctors, and a reduction in contract labor. Seger said the layoffs will help get the hospital going in the right direction financially.
"We're really just doing everything we can to set the organization up for the future and for future success," Seger said on Wednesday afternoon, adding, "These are not things that anybody wants to go through, but again it's the change and the shift to the new climate in healthcare that will set us all up for success," Seger said.
The first five layoffs were from the information systems and compliance departments. While Seger now estimates that 25 to 30 people will lose their jobs, he hopes that many will be rehired in a different position at the hospital.
"We want to do the right things for all our employees, and so we hope to have many of the employees that this would impact in other positions within the organization," Seger said.
But the anonymous employee said she knows that the Billings Clinic's financial challenges are far from over, and she's afraid of what cutbacks could be next.
"We don't know what this is going to look like," she said. "We don't know what they mean by restructuring. I'm stuck thinking this could happen to me. I'm speechless about it honestly."