Rapid changes in the health care delivery system continue to be a challenge for all hospitals and health care systems across the United States, including CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial. Reducing expenses will continue to be the norm for all healthcare organizations as Medicare payments continue to drop and additional federal regulations are implemented. As a result, CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial announced today it will close its Homecare department effective October 1.
The decision was part of an overall strategic plan at the national level to reorganize operations and enhance clinical and financial performance.
“Because of sweeping mandatory federal changes coming at the end of the year for home health agencies, we were forced to assess the financial risks and additional challenges that would ultimately affect the way we do business,” said Shawn Barnett, CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial Chief Operating Officer. “This was not an easy decision. However, as part of a national reorganization process, we feel we can now utilize our resources to better align ourselves with the greater needs of this community.”
During the next few months, the Homecare team will transition all current patients to other local home health agencies and will not accept any new patients.
In the early 1980s Dr. Bill Shelton, Lufkin’s first radiation oncologist, realized a need for in-home health care and established the Memorial program. It was one of the first home health agencies in the area and has since been recognized as the Best Lufkin Homecare Service by The Lufkin News readers in 2007-2011, and 2014-2016.
“Our Homecare team delivered excellent, compassionate service over the past three and a half decades, and we sincerely appreciate our patients who allowed us into their homes,” said Homecare Director Patricia Jones, who will become Director of the Temple Cancer Center, Wound Care, and the Polk Education Center.
Twenty-two employees are affected by the Homecare closure; however, the majority of employees have been offered available positions with the Memorial system. As CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial aims to fully integrate with the national CHI organization and the CHI Texas Division, all areas of the four-hospital system are being explored for cost-savings, efficiency and improvement opportunities. As part of that process, four additional layoffs were announced today.