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Ascension’s IT arm outsources another 330 jobs

Ascension Technologies, the information-technology services arm of the hospital giant Ascension, plans to eliminate 330 jobs in November.

The latest round of layoffs, disclosed to Missouri’s Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development in a notice last week, follows Ascension’s decision to eliminate 651 information technology jobs earlier this year and 223 IT jobs last year. The St. Louis-based company laid off hundreds of revenue cycle and medical transcription services jobs in prior years.

Ascension Technologies is outsourcing roughly 330 jobs that provide technology support for applications and platforms, collaboration and end-user engineering, network and telecommunications, and field services functions to a third-party company. Employees will have the option to apply for other positions at Ascension Technologies or with the unnamed vendor.

“Accordingly, the total number of employees who will ultimately have an employment loss may be significantly less,” the notice reads.

Ascension Technologies will provide severance and outplacement services to employees who don’t secure another position with the organization.

Most of the employees affected by the latest outsourcing decision work remotely and aren’t based in Missouri, but report to a site in St. Louis, according to Ascension’s notice.

Outsourcing ancillary business segments such as cybersecurity, IT support, data centers and revenue cycle, among others, has become an increasingly popular way for health systems to consolidate operations and save money. But it can take a toll on a hospital’s internal culture, as employees are laid off or transition to working for third-parties.

“The transformation of Ascension Technologies will better enable us to meet and exceed both our consumer and clinician expectations,” Ascension Chief Information Officer Gerry Lewis wrote a blog post. “The scope of our transformation has required structural changes in how we get our work done. Through this process, some of our associates have transitioned to our providers while others have left our organization.”

Ascension has completed “the last major step in our service delivery transition,” according to the blog post, which was published Tuesday.

An Ascension spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on the vendor that will take on the work of the laid off employees.

Ascension reported a $639 million operating loss on $25.3 billion in revenue in fiscal 2020, which ended June 30, compared to $130.6 million in operating income on $25.3 billion in revenue in its fiscal 2019.

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