VUMC hiring freeze has eliminated 700 positions

The decision early this year by Vanderbilt University Medical Center leaders to not fill open positions has resulted in the elimination of 700 positions, the medical complex's boss said this week.

Speaking to more than 1,100 faculty, staff and students for his annual leadership address, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Jeff Balser said the hiring freeze has sharply reduced the number of employees affected by a range of cutbacks he blames on reduced government funding, falling insurance reimbursements and the decision by Gov. Bill Haslam not to expand Tennessee's Medicaid program.

“We’re sticking to our strategy to provide extraordinary clinical care, to be a leader in medical education, and to make discoveries of fundamental importance to humanity,” said Balser. “We’re going to remain and grow as a national leader in all three areas.”

The 700 jobs cut via the hiring freeze is in addition to the more than 1,000 people who already have been or will be laid off before the end of this year. Combined, that means VUMC's total employee base has fallen by more than 10 percent since mid-2012.

Among the other topics Balser highlighted were:

• His team's efforts to expand the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network, which has tied VUMC to 32 hospitals around Tennessee and in Virginia in just two years.

• Plans to continue to build out the hospital system's technology infrastructure, including the Web-based portal MyHealth@Vanderbilt. The main focus of investments will be simpler documentation and data management and integration across different platforms.

• Increases of 20 percent and more in funding from industry and philanthropic sources for drug discovery and advanced clinical trials.

Check out a full rundown here.


Photo by John Russell, VUMC