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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 19, 2001

St. Francis merges management

By John Duchemin
Advertiser Staff Writer

St. Francis Healthcare System will merge the management of its two O'ahu hospitals and close an addiction treatment center as part of cost-cutting moves that will eliminate 150 jobs.

The nonprofit hospital organization, which on Tuesday confirmed the job cuts among its 2,200 employees, announced details of the reorganization yesterday and further explained why the reductions were necessary.

St. Francis is on track to lose $5 million this fiscal year, due in part to decreases in government reimbursement for health-care services and increases in medical costs. The cost cuts are intended to save $15 million over two years, St. Francis administrators said in a statement.

"I regret that we have come to this point, as we have always worked hard to keep our staffing lean and our expenses down," said Sister Beatrice Tom, chief executive officer for the St. Francis system, which runs hospitals in Liliha and 'Ewa Beach.

Among other moves, St. Francis will eliminate its Women's Addiction Treatment Center in mid-May in response to declining reimbursements. St. Francis has already suspended its maternity service at the 'Ewa Beach center; closed its Iwilei Clinic for the homeless and uninsured on March 1; closed its Ko'olau health center, diabetes center and heart failure clinic last summer; and initiated a hiring freeze last summer.

Under the merged hospital management, one administrator with five assistants will oversee the two centers' 1,700 employees. Medical staff will remain separate. Cynthia A. Okinaka, currently the Liliha administrator, will oversee both hospitals.

Tom will continue as CEO of St. Francis Healthcare System, and Sister Gretchen Gilroy will remain chief executive officer of the two medical centers. The hospitals' boards will remain separate but will meet together to discuss operations and finances.