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Health CEO: layoffs coming after $12M loss

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BETHEL, Alaska (AP) — Drastic measures were needed to turn around the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. after a recent audit, the organization's CEO said.

Dan Winkelman said 110 employees — though likely no doctors — will be let go throughout the organization, which provides health care to Bethel and surrounding villages. He said 50 more vacant positions won't be filled. Severance packages will be offered to those affected.

About 50 positions also were cut last fall, KYUK reported (http://bit.ly/1odUCH5 ).

Winkelman said the corporation lost nearly $12 million last year, a result of failing to reach collection goals, federal budget cuts and an increase in expenses due to such things as investments in a new elders' home and medical records system. He said increases in temporary duty physicians and employee health insurance costs were also a factor. He said he is working to correct inefficiencies in their revenue collection systems.

He said even with the planned cuts, the corporation is projected to lose more than $3 million this year. But he doesn't currently anticipate more layoffs.

The corporation consists of a regional hospital in Bethel, nine regional facilities and 47 village clinics. It has about 1,500 employees, with an annual payroll of $70 million.

The organization recently was awarded a $40 million settlement from the Indian Health Service for unpaid contract support services between 2005 and 2011 but Winkelman said that will not be used to shore up the budget. He said he and the board are instead "thinking out long-term and part of our long-term strategy is to use those funds in addition to some other funds to try to get us a new hospital as well as a new primary care center."

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Information from: KYUK-AM, http://www.kyuk.org

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