CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Novant Health announced 160 job cuts systemwide on Thursday, including Charlotte, mostly for managers and administrators.

The workforce reduction is about .5 percent, the company confirmed with Queen City News.

“You can’t cut staff who are providing direct care to patients,” said Dennis Taylor, a past president of the North Carolina Nurses Association.

Taylor says hospital systems need to ensure job cuts will not impact the workers who directly care for patients.

“For a lot of nurses who have made the decision more recently to exit the profession, one of the biggest reasons that they cite is stress, and that stress is caused by not enough staff,” said Taylor.

The North Carolina Healthcare Association says that last year and the first nine months of 2023 have been tough financially for healthcare systems because of “high non-reimbursable costs” in “labor, supplies and purchased services.”

Taylor says healthcare companies must support frontline workers but also improve efficiency.

“It really depends on what your staffing mix is. We certainly have seen some healthcare organizations that were top-heavy in terms of administrative staff,” Taylor said. “No one likes too many chefs in the kitchen.”

Queen City News obtained an email from Novant’s CEO, Carl Armato, to employees:

I want to share an update about today’s evolving healthcare environment and how we’re adapting at Novant Health. 

As we have shared previously, Novant Health and our peers across the country are dealing with declining operating margins and other industry pressures following the pandemic. Rising labor and supply costs, clinician shortages, new for-profit competitors, greater patient demand for services delivered in new and different ways and innovative technologies are fundamentally changing healthcare.

This is our new reality, and we must adapt. We have to change the way we work and operate in order to make the necessary investments in our people and our patients, and to deliver more affordable care to the communities we serve.

I know many of you have been working hard to respond to the challenges presented by the pandemic, and I appreciate how you have continued to adjust to new ways of working. We have achieved some significant accomplishments over the last few years, including our exceptional quality and safety results and diversifying our revenue through innovative initiatives and partnerships. I am particularly proud that we are able to continue delivering remarkable care and experiences as part of our ongoing commitment to our team members, patients and communities. 

With that said, there’s still more that we can do to ease the financial and operational burdens we are facing. We must cover our daily operations and continue making investments, so that we can remain the employer and provider of choice for high-quality, affordable care across the region. We must be able to effectively control costs while growing to increase access and secure our future at the same time.

As part of this work, today we have made the difficult decision to reduce our workforce by 160 positions, or less than 0.5% of our 36,000 team members across the health system. This reduction affects mostly management and administrative roles and will not impact our ability to deliver remarkable care. I want to make it clear that the safety and quality of care for our patients remains our top priority. 

We never make decisions like this lightly, and we are grateful for our team members’ service to our patients and communities. We are doing everything we can to support them through this transition, including offering severance packages and access to employee assistance programs (EAP) and career support services.

What it Means for You

This is a difficult moment, but Novant Health is a strong organization with a bold vision for the future. We are confident that together, we will explore new and different ways to serve our patients and innovate to deliver even better care.

Each of us has a role in reimagining how we work, and your ideas and efforts are essential to our success. I want each of you to feel empowered to take action to solve problems and work more efficiently and effectively.

Together, I am confident that we will be able to grow our capabilities, expand access to the high-quality care our patients need and deserve, and deliver remarkable experiences for our team members. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to keeping our patients at the center of everything we do.

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Several banking giants, including Bank of America and Truist, announced layoffs earlier this year. Both finance companies have giant workforces based in Charlotte.