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Monday, July 28, 2014, 6:06 p.m.
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CHI St. Vincent announces reduction of 157 positions

By Mark Gregory

This article was published June 26, 2014 at 5:23 p.m.

CHI St. Vincent announced Thursday that it will be reducing 157 positions from its a total workforce of more than 4,500 as a result of an "intense review" following the acquisition of the Mercy Health System in Hot Springs.

Peter Banko, chief executive officer of CHI St. Vincent, told The Sentinel-Record that no more than 74 of the layoffs were from CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs.

"As part of the integration process, an intense review of all CHI St. Vincent ministries has been underway to address bringing together two historically separate organizations by consolidating several key corporate functions, maintaining a lean leadership structure, and ensuring consistent and equitable operations across the health system. As a result of this review, CHI St. Vincent will be reducing 157 positions in a total workforce of more than 4,500. From the positions impacted, there will be no more than 91 impacted individuals at CHI St. Vincent," CHI St. Vincent said in a news release.

“Today is a very difficult day for our ministry and our first task is to support those co-workers that are leaving us because our decisions are impacting good people and their families,” Banko said in the release.

“Our second task is to continue to stay focused on our basic philosophy that has served us well for 126 years — the patient comes first!”, he said in the release.

“While today is a tough day, I have never been more optimistic about the great future that lies ahead for CHI St. Vincent," Banko said.

“Our coming together enhances Catholic health care ministry in Arkansas. And we have firmly positioned ourselves to be one of the two (or three) prominent health systems that chart a new course for health care in Arkansas.”

The Sisters of Mercy, which had provided health care in Hot Springs for 125 years, announced in April that St. Vincent Health Systems in Little Rock, a Catholic Health Initiative affiliate, had purchased Mercy Hospital Hot Springs and physician clinic.

The name was later changed to CHI St. Vincent.

At the time, Mercy Hospital Hot Springs had about 2,000 employees, making it the single-largest year-round employer in Garland County.

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