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MemorialCare Health System lays off 130, partly blames Affordable Care Act

Layoffs amount to less than 3 percent of their staff, concern mostly non-clinical positions, system says.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Southern California's MemorialCare Health System laid off 130 staff members, leveling at least part of the blame on financial challenges suffered under the Affordable Care Act.

The layoffs affect employees at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children's and Women's Hospital Long Beach and Community Hospital Long Beach.

A spokesperson for the system confirmed the layoffs amount to less than 3 percent of their staff, and concern mostly non-clinical positions.

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[Also: Hospital Sisters Health System cuts 85 jobs at four hospitals as outpatient wins over patients]

"Like many hospitals in California and nationwide, we are experiencing much higher costs, decreasing reimbursement and increasing numbers of government-sponsored patients.

Although the decision to rebalance a workforce is never an easy one, managing our resources prudently will allow us to be well-positioned to serve our community into the future." Long Beach Memorial CEO John Bishop said in a statement.

[Also: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will slash 1,000 jobs to cut costs]

MemorialCare said they are helping employees who have lost their jobs find work. "Those affected are being offered career transition services as well as the opportunity to apply for open positions within the organization."

Published local reports said the hospital pointed to Medicaid expansion as a contributing factor since it spawned an influx of needy patients. Due to low reimbursement payments from Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program, the hospital's costs were not fully covered.

This is not the first time connections have been drawn between layoffs and the ACA. This past fall, Dartmouth-Hitchcock announced 400 layoffs at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, saying it's difficult to achieve cost-savings when the facility is already a low-cost care provider.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn