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In CO, a tale of two hospitals

The Aspen Times, June 29, 2011
Aspen Valley Hospital will give its employees an average pay increase of 2.4% this month, while the Vail Valley Medical Center laid off 22 people less than two weeks ago. The difference in fortunes between the two facilities illustrates the challenges in an industry that is grappling not only with the effects of a recession, but looming changes posed by national healthcare reforms. In Vail, hospital administrators cited a drop in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements coupled with an increase in the number of patients in those two programs for the need to cut staff. In addition, the medical center has seen a 27% drop in births this year, another revenue source, according to a report in The Vail Daily. The layoffs and other moves trimmed $4.2 million from the Vail facility's budget. In Aspen, it's a different story on several fronts, and not just because births are up so far this year. The resort hospital has not been forced to cut positions during the recession, and has managed to give its workforce ? currently about 275 full-time employees ? annual pay raises that are based what's happening in the regional and national market.