Womack Army Medical Center reducing its workforce - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Womack Army Medical Center reducing its workforce

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. -

Womack army medical center on Fort Bragg could be reducing its civilian workforce by nearly 200 positions.

Col. Steven Brewster, Womack's commander, said the hospital's leaders are working to figure out ways to bring expenses more in line with funding. So changes in staffing levels are part of the effort.

"Our number one cost here at Womack is in salaries," Brewster said. "We don't have a mission to reduce staffing. We have a mission to reduce costs while continuing to provide quality healthcare. Part of that comes as everyone's tightening their belts.

The center has funding authorization for a staff of around 2,340 employees. Currently there are 2,414 employees at Womack said lynch. However, Womack is also adding 125 positions in direct patient care areas. With those jobs added, Womack will have to eliminate 199 positions in other areas to get down to the employee cap of 2,340.

Brewster said Womack may be able to cut much of the staff by simply eliminating many positions that become vacant. Also, the medical center will be offering employees voluntary early retirement and voluntary separation pay options Brewster explained. That effort will reduce the number of people who may lose their jobs through the workforce reduction. Transfers would also be possible, and hospital administrators hope most of the jobs will be eliminated through attrition. The full process would take about a year.

Brewster said the hospital's workforce level has gone down about 300 positions this year through attrition.

"Hopefully if we continue on the current trend and track we're on that won't come to fruition - we will not have a reduction in force," Brewster said, referring to the possible need to cut non-vacant positions. "But we are considering that as an option as we move forward because there is a requirement to reduce our costs."

The 125 positions added will be in areas as warrior care, behavioral health, victims' advocacy, alcohol and drug counseling and primary care management. Those 125 positions will be included within the new employee cap at Womack.

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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