MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The University of Miami medical school says it has already started laying off employees. And while the school did tell the state that 800 positions would be affected, the dean of the school says he hopes that fewer than 800 people will be laid off.
Dean Pascal Goldschmidt told reporters that no medical care givers would lose their jobs. The layoffs will impact those in administrative and research positions.
“This is really the last resort,” said Goldschmidt. “We have done everything to solve this, reducing our expenses and now the number of employees.”
The UM school of medicine has about 8,000 employees.
The UM school of medicine had filed a WARN notice with the state that the layoff date would be July 31st. Goldschmidt said the layoffs would be staggered over a period of time.
Dr. Obi Ekwenna is the chief resident in Urology and in his fifth year at the school. He’s concerned not only for those losing jobs, but also for the patients.
“It is tough, people their jobs and being laid off,” Dr. Ekwenna said. “It’s very sad, not only for the community, but for the patients. Ultimately, they are the ones affected the most.
The move comes just weeks after UM President Donna Shalala told employees that “significant” cuts were being planned at the medical school. Shalala said a huge drop in funding for research and clinical care, along with a sharp cutback in payments from the Jackson Health System, and the Great Recession were all factors in the decision.
According to the Herald, payments to UM from Jackson have dropped by $16 million in the last two years.
“I think the economic downturn is affecting our country as a whole, trickling down to hospitals and universities as a whole,” Dr. Ekwenna said.
When Dr. Ekwenna was asked by CBS4’s Peter D’Oench if patient care would suffer, he was hopeful.
“That’s the hope, with fewer people here they will still have to see the same amount of patients. It’s going to be tough and challenging,” Dr. Ekwenna said.
Both Jackson and UM were trying to put together a new annual operating agreement.