Renewing St. Joe's
As overtime was cut and employees were laid off, the construction became a target for resentment. Some staffers complain that their jobs are being sacrificed to keep the renovation on track.
Rob Casalou, president and CEO of St. Joe's and its satellite hospitals in Saline, Howell, and Livonia, says that's not the case. "Hospitals and health systems are not immune to the current economic downturn and hospitals are fundamentally redefining the way health care is delivered," Casalou writes in a prepared statement. With the hospitals facing a projected $52 million deficit in the fiscal year that began last June, "It was unfortunate but necessary to take a look at our staffing resources and better align ourselves for the future."
Casalou told Crain's Detroit Business that the hospitals' net income fell 25 percent in fiscal 2009. Also contributing to the projected deficit was the weak stock market, which forced the system to contribute more to its pension plans. The cuts were split between purchasing and payroll, which shrank $25 million, or 5.9 percent.
Spokeswoman Lauren Stokes points out that the construction is funded out of a separate capital budget, including an ongoing $100 million fund-raising campaign for St. Joe's and its satellites. By far the biggest part of that total, $85 million, is targeted for the Ann Arbor hospital, with $70 million already raised.