Orlando Health labor cuts may affect hundreds of jobs

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando Health will make cuts that could affect hundreds of jobs.

Hospital officials announced Monday that it will reduce its labor costs up t0 2 to 3 percent.

According to officials, the cuts will include not filling open positions, making lay-offs, and not replacing people when they leave.

The cuts are expected to impact every department and all eight of Orlando Health's hospitals.

Officials refused to talk with WFTV on camera, but in a statement, the company said a total of 300 to 400 positions would be eliminated in two phases, one now and the other after Jan. 1.

The three-page release claims the hospital was forced to cut because of the health care reform mandates and changes to the reimbursement structures for Medicare and Medicaid.

Officials said in 2012, the hospital saw a 20 percent cut in Medicaid reimbursements.

But administrators said current projects at Orlando Health are safe, like a $25 million proton therapy facility and $297 million for a new patient tower and renovations.

Officials said the cuts will also increase revenue.

Nicole Brice is part of the clerical team in pediatrics. She said she heard the news from a friend on Facebook.

"Took it to my boss and asked her, and she didn't even know anything about it, either," said Brice. "So none of us really know what's going on right now."

Donald Kidder said he's simply worried about the impact all of this has on him as a patient who is still getting care at the hospital after abdominal surgery.

"Safety of the patients, cleanliness," he said. "They are overworked, working too many hours. That's when mistakes are made."

"My biggest concern is being right before the holidays and losing my job," said Brice.