Swedish layoffs will affect Edmonds hospital

An effort to focus more on outpatient care
By Brian Soergel | Sep 19, 2018
Photo by: Brian Soergel Swedish Edmonds spent more than $60 million on an expansion in 2015.

Swedish Health, whose hospitals include Swedish Edmonds, has announced that it needs to “evolve” into a “more cost-effective model of care” that will cut more than 550 jobs as part of what CEO Guy Hudson said is a move to “transform Swedish so that it can better serve the current and future needs of its patients and communities.”

That transformation includes program and staffing cuts that will affect a small percentage of the overall workforce at Swedish, including all hospitals, ambulatory clinics and care centers.

Specific jobs to be cut have not been released, spokeswoman Karrie Spitzer said Wednesday.

Said Hudson: “We are committed to working with all impacted caregivers to help them apply for one or more of Swedish’s more than 600 open positions if they are interested.”

The move is part of the organization’s push to focus more on outpatient care and less on inpatient, hospital care. Hudson said Swedish will add registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants to some of its primary care clinics so it can see more patients.

“We will strategically invest in outpatient systems of care and other services our patients require, while enhancing our partnerships with other providers in the community,” he said.

“We also focused on opportunities to create more efficiency within our organization, such as through staffing improvements and reducing select management positions.”

Hudson said the layoffs represent about 4 percent of Swedish’s 13,500-person staff.

Swedish is a nonprofit organization owned by Providence Health and Services.

Hudson – a Swedish pediatric urologic surgeon and executive physician leader – was named CEO in July 2017, five months after CEO Tony Armada resigned after The Seattle Times ran an investigative story raising concerns about Swedish’s neurosurgery institute on Cherry Hill.

In December, 98 percent of nurses and other Swedish caregivers, members of the SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, expressed no confidence in the organization’s leadership.

They cited decreasing morale and quality of patient care.

In a message to employees this week, Hudson said that, like other health-care organizations, it is “confronting the challenges posed by declining reimbursement rates, a changing payer mix and increasing costs of care. At the same time, patients’ needs and demands are changing dramatically. There is growing demand for community-based care that is supported through a network of ambulatory, virtual and other types of non-acute care.”

And the cuts, Hudson said, will allow Swedish to put resources into programs and services that will help meet its patient needs, including:

  • Improved access to primary care by increasing the number of advanced care practitioners in some of its primary care clinics;
  • Expansion of their palliative care program to ensure meeting the needs of the community; and
  • Increased support of community-based care through partnerships, such as Swedish’s partnership with the Issaquah School District, where it provides school-based mental health counselors, and will be adding staff to help meet the growing community need.



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