I received my April issue of the St Vincent Health System Communiqué in Monday’s mail. I was surprised to see this:
Eye Surgery to Close
Effective April 1, 2009 St Vincent will no longer offer surgical eye services at either Doctors or the Infirmary. This difficult decision came after a long discernment process weighing the pros and cons of closing a service St Vincent has had for decades. Unfortunately, shutting down the service is a sign of the times as volume has slowly decreased and many other more cost effective alternatives exist for patients and physicians alike. Patients presenting to the hospital needing surgical intervention will need to be transferred to UAMS or Baptist Medical Center, the two remaining hospitals to offer surgical eye services.
I had missed this story earlier in March in the Arkansas Business News.
St. Vincent will cut open positions first and then layoff workers who aren't tied to patient care, said Peter Banko, the CEO of St. Vincent.
St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center also announced it will close its psychiatric unit for older patients, its Medicare-exempt psychiatric program and eye-surgery program by April 1.
Banko said he tries to keep up the morale of the system's 3,000 workers by keeping them informed through e-mail updates and his blog.
And here it is again on Arkansas Blog (March 24, 2009) – St Vincent Plans Job Cuts. I have been aware of the job cuts, but had missed the surgical services cut. And for the life of me, I have been unable to find Mr. Banko’s blog.
Other relates blog posts
Update on the Economy and its effect on BIDMC – Paul Levy, March 6, 2009
Final Budget Decisions -- Paul Levy, March 24, 2009
How Bad is it for Hospitals? -- Dr Wes, March 26, 2009
Desperate Hospitals Update – Medical Quack, April 12, 2009