Forty people have been laid off from the Carondelet Health Network's corporate office in Tucson, a spokeswoman confirmed Friday.
Officials said the layoffs, which represent less than 1 percent of the Carondelet workforce, were part of a staff restructuring in anticipation of the company's 2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The chain of Southern Arizona Catholic hospitals includes the nonprofit St. Mary's and St. Joseph's hospitals in Tucson, as well as Holy Cross Hospital in Nogales.
"Carondelet recognized the need to minimize administrative expenses, given the national and local health-care landscape," Carondelet spokeswoman Lisa Contreras wrote in an email Friday. "The effects of sequestration, the increased cost of caring for the uninsured, and national trends toward fewer people seeking inpatient hospital care were all factors."
Contreras said the 40 positions were eliminated as part of a restructuring that began earlier this week.
"Some are applying to other available roles in our organization that fit their qualifications and career interests," she said. "Positions were impacted at all levels of the corporate office, including upper management."
She stressed that the restructuring does not have any impact on direct patient care.
St. Mary's and St. Joseph's hospitals reported combined operating losses of nearly $90 million in their most recent public financial statements to the Arizona Department of Health Services. Those operating deficits were the largest any Tucson-area community hospitals reported to the state in 2012.
Hospitals across Arizona have been hard-hit by a shaky economy and state budget cuts that have left thousands of low-income Arizonans without health insurance. A freeze preventing childless adults from enrolling in Medicaid, combined with reduced reimbursements to hospitals for Medicaid patients, has resulted in soaring bad debt and charity care.
Carondelet is part of Missouri-based Ascension Health, which is the country's largest Catholic health-care system and provides care at more than 1,400 locations across the country.
Carondelet purchased 80 percent of the north-side Tucson Heart Hospital in 2006 and became 100 percent owner in 2010, when it changed the name to the Carondelet Heart and Vascular Institute. Last year, Carondelet moved the Heart and Vascular Institute to St. Mary's.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet opened St. Mary's - Arizona's first hospital - in 1880 in Tucson. St. Joseph's Hospital opened here in 1961, and the nuns began managing Holy Cross in Nogales in 1981.
Contact reporter Stephanie Innes at email@example.com or 573-4134.