University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine Laying Up To 800 Workers

Officials say patient care won't be affected

By Diana Gonzalez and Brian Hamacher
|  Tuesday, May 8, 2012  |  Updated 9:48 PM EDT
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The layoffs at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine will be completed by May 31, the end of UM's fiscal year. Dean Dr. Pascal Goldschmidt told NBC 6 that

The layoffs at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine will be completed by May 31, the end of UM's fiscal year. Dean Dr. Pascal Goldschmidt told NBC 6 that "patient care is entirely untouched" by the layoffs.

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The University of Miami's medical school on Tuesday started laying off up to 800 workers, NBC 6 learned.

The layoffs at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine will be completed by May 31, the end of UM's fiscal year. A Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification was posted to floridajobs.org.

A UM spokeswoman told NBC 6 that no clinical staff – workers who directly deal with patients – are affected and that some workers will be rehired in restructured positions.

In a letter sent to employees April 24, Miller's Dean Dr. Pascal Goldschmidt announced the reductions, calling them "painful but essential."

"There are no easy choices due to decreases in government funding, health insurance changes, and the financial struggles of our valued partners at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and it is clear that part of our strengthening must involve rightsizing our organization and reducing our workforce," Goldschmidt said. "To remain focused on providing better care to our community, we are reducing administrative duplication and unfunded research so we may deploy more resources to our clinical operations."

Goldschmidt told NBC 6 that "patient care is entirely untouched."

"What we have to cut is unfunded research," he said.

He added that they have lost grant money from the National Institutes of Health.

“The reimbursement of professional revenues to physicians have gone down substantially over the past few years. The amount of funding that we receive to provide care at Jackson Memorial Hospital, as you probably have heard, has also gone down a little bit," Goldschmidt said.

Clinical Research Services at UM's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the departments feeling the pain of major job cuts.

The Clinical Research Building on the medical school campus was another high layoff location.

"They're freaking out right now wondering who's getting laid off and stuff like that," said UM employee Rosa Cruz, who says she's a little nervous.

"I may be safe, but you never know until when," she said.

COO Dr. Jack Lord said they had to "streamline and consolidate administrative functions."

In March, Jackson Health System CEO Carlos Migoya announced his organization would be laying off 920 staffers and eliminating another 195 vacant positions.

UM provides doctors, physicians and administrators to Jackson Memorial Hospital, according to The Miami Herald. But Jackson, which has lost $419 million the past three years, has been cutting payments to UM.

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