Equities / Chicago Tribune, October 11, 2012

Like millions of Americans over the past five years, hospital workers are facing the bitter economic reality that no job is safe. Hospitals of all sizes, from large academic medical centers in big cities to small community hospitals in rural areas, have cut hundreds of jobs in Illinois over the past year, including positions in at least nine facilities in northern Illinois. The job cuts, affecting everyone from maintenance workers and food service employees to lab technicians and nurses, are coming ahead of the implementation of the 2010 health care overhaul law and represent the beginning of a massive cost-cutting campaign being waged by hospitals across the country. With fewer patients expected to come through the door, as well as lower payments, health systems are seeking budget cuts of between 20 and 40 percent within the next five years—cuts so deep that reductions in labor, the largest single item in a hospital's cost structure, will be required.

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