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Billings Clinic Bozeman forced to lay off employees amid financial struggles

This past April, 15 employees across multiple departments were notified that their positions would be eliminated.
Posted at 8:08 PM, Jun 07, 2024

BOZEMAN — Inflation and rising labor costs are just some of the reasons that Billings Clinic Bozeman is forced to lay off employees across multiple departments.

"If you look at it nationwide, about half the healthcare institutions in the country are losing money this year, and we have not been immune to that," Says Zach Benoit, community relations manager for Billings Clinic.

This past April, the clinic let 15 members of their Bozeman staff know that their positions were being eliminated.

Affected departments include urgent care, behavioral health, ophthalmology, pediatric cardiology, general surgery, urology, and neurology. Positions range from leadership to support staff to specialty practitioners.

Benoit says, "Labor and supply costs have continued to go up. That’s not just here in Montana or even in the region. Again, that’s across the country; those costs just continue to go up."

He tells MTN that insurance reimbursements, lower than expected patient volumes, and a changing healthcare landscape post-COVID all played a part.

"All of those really combine together to lead to what is really a difficult decision that we had to make to really ensure that we can stay in Bozeman to meet the needs of Gallatin Valley long into the future," Benoit says.

Benoit says this restructuring of the clinic will focus mostly on primary care, pediatrics, and OB/GYN services. But many other support services will still be available, in person or virtually.

"One example would be that while this affects urgent care, we still offer same-day appointments through pediatrics and primary care, so that would be for adults and children. So we still have those services, they might just look a little bit different in that case," he says.

Patients whose provider’s contract is ending will also be notified and employees who have lost their jobs in Bozeman can apply to other jobs within the Billings Clinic network.

I spoke with Bozeman Health about these layoffs. Dr. Kathryn Bertany, CEO of Bozeman Health comments, "Bozeman Health will be very welcoming of interested folks who apply for open positions, including clinical and nonclinical positions. We want to do anything we can to support valuable services remaining accessible for patients in this community."