Via Christi To Cut More Than 350 Jobs

May 21, 2013

Via Christi says months of lowered hospital and physician visits put the company $18 million dollars behind budget for fiscal year 2013.

They'll eliminate between 350 and 400 jobs, about 4 percent of the company's Kansas workforce, by the end of June. About 80 of those will be taken care of by not filling current vacancies, but 80 percent of total job cuts will be designated for Wichita.

In addition, about 35 senior leaders in the company will take a 4 percent salary deduction.

Staff members who lose their jobs will receive severance and other support.

Company CEO Jeff Korsmo says visits have been declining for years, but they accelerated during "snow storms in February and have not bounced back."

Its operating margin as of the end of April was .1 percent. Korsmo says the company needs 3 - 4 percent margins to sustain itself long-term.

"After three consecutive months of volume shortfalls, we believe we must assume that our volumes will not bounce back in the short term," he says.

Via Christi will reduce its staff so that it matches the new, lower numbers of patient and visit volume.

Korsmo says these changes are necessary and will be the first of a number of changes to be more cost effective.

One area of growth Korsmo does see in Via Christi's future is providing services in homes and assisted-living locations for the aging baby boomer population.

"We have to put the challenge ahead of us and figure out how to get there," he says. "That's one of the exciting things and important things about our future."