JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Mountain States Health Alliance has hired more than 100 nurses in the past two months, MSHA officials announced Wednesday.
The increase in hiring is due to an uptick in patient admissions as well as administrative changes, according to a statement from the company. Those adjustments included initiatives to reduce the cost of corporate overhead and supply and improving operational efficiency, the statement said.
The news comes after rounds of cuts in the health care industry. In January, 116 MSHA employees lost jobs and an additional 45 positions were not filled. Most of the jobs were at the corporate level. A third of those who lost jobs were rehired by MSHA, the statement said.
“Less than five months ago, we were cutting positions in order to cope with reimbursement cuts and declining volumes,” said Adam Levine, president and CEO of Mountain States. “The reimbursement cuts are still a very real concern, but volumes are beginning to improve, and so we’ve been able to invest in new, higher wage jobs at the bedside.”
He said the cuts were important so the health care system could “reduce our corporate cost structure in order to focus on the reason we are here, which is direct patient care.”
Since January, the system has seen a 4.7 percent increase in inpatient admissions, Levine said. That’s after the first seven months of fiscal year 2014, in which inpatient admissions were down 6.6 percent.
“The more people choose to use our services, the more we have the capacity to create jobs,” Levine said. “The positions we are filling are those that are directly resulting from the choice of patients and their doctors to use our services rather than leaving the region.”
He said the more people choose MSHA facilities, the more the system will need “exceptional clinical professionals.”
“Recruitment of nurses and other key patient-care professionals is an ongoing process; it never completely stops, even when we have to make cuts in other areas of the organization,” he said. “But when the region’s largest employer is able to put this much energy behind creating new jobs, that’s good news for everyone.”