SSM Health Care confirms nearly 600 layoffs

Oct 15, 2013

Hospital interior
Credit Fotos GOVBA / flicker

The parent company of St. Mary’s Health Center, SSM Health Care, has announced the details of a reorganization resulting in the elimination of 586 positions across its network of hospitals and clinics. Last week, SSM officials said the company could not confirm or deny reports of coming layoffs.

SSM cut 206 jobs in St. Louis and 10 jobs at St. Mary’s Health Center in Jefferson City. The company owns and operates 18 hospitals in Illinois, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Missouri. Prior to the layoffs, SSM employed roughly 30,000 people – about 1,600 of which worked at St. Mary’s.

Steve VanDinter, system director of media relations for SSM, said a dramatic shift in the health care industry made the company look for opportunities to consolidate parts of its extensive system.

“Most of these were administrative positions and not directly involved with patient care,” VanDinter said. “And so, to give an example of what we were talking about – one was communications. Throughout our system we had various different positions for communications. And what we did was standardize titles and also standardize some of those functions so that we could share some of the resources across the system rather than having full communications departments in each of our hospitals.”

The company said in a statement it made the majority of the layoffs through attrition, meaning it cut vacant positions or jobs it planned to recruit for or replace in the future.

SSM Health Care is a not-for-profit Catholic health system with 11 hospitals and clinics in Missouri. It is the fifth-largest employer in St. Louis and serves more than 1.5 million people per year.