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Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation to lay off 100 employees

By Daysha Eaton / KYUK Radio 5:04 PM May 7, 2014

The Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation is bracing for another round of layoffs.

Spokesperson Donna Bach says around 100 employees will be cut this time around and about 50 positions that are vacant will not be filled. That amounts less than 10 percent of the corporations’ workforce.

Last fall around 50 employees were cut.

According to a recent audit, YKHC experienced the largest budget deficit in company history at 11.7 millions dollars last year. Bach says layoffs are a result of sequestration in 2013 and reductions to Indian Health Service funds for 2014 as well as not meeting projected revenue goals.

In addition, a new state Medicaid vendor rolled out last fall has glitches and has slowed reimbursement, Bach says. Plus investments in a new electronic medical records system and in an elders home have drained reserves.

Bach says 39 million dollars in Indian Health Service settlement money recently awarded to YKHC for unpaid contract support services between 2005 and 2011, will not be used to shore up the budget. Instead, the new CEO, Dan Winkleman and the YKHC board are safeguarding the money for long-term infrastructure investment.

An internal memo was sent out this week explaining that layoffs are coming. Pink slips will go out within 30 days. Severance will be offered to all employees who are laid off.

Officials aren’t saying which departments will be impacted yet or whether village clinics will see cuts, but confirm that patients can expect a decrease in access to appointments, longer wait times and fewer services.

YKHC employs 1,500 people and has an annual payroll of 80 million dollars. Officials say more information will be released Friday.

Story originally reported by KYUK Radio in Bethel. 

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