Ballad CEO announces 255 new nursing jobs after cutting administrative staff

Johnson City Press • May 10, 2018 at 10:16 PM

Ballad Health has hired 255 new nurses in the wake of eliminating 150 administrative positions last month, the company’s chief executive officer announced Thursday on Twitter.

“A GREAT OUTCOME,” CEO Alan Levine tweeted. “While @BalladHealth reduced 150 mostly administrative positions last month, we also HIRED 255 new graduate nurses, who are now beginning to work. 105 NET NEW JOBS. As we said we'd do.”

Since the region’s two health care systems merged to form Ballad in February, leaders have been adjusting the business model for efficiencies. That included eliminating 150 filled positions in April and 49 others through attrition, as well as closing four urgent care clinics — in Johnson City, Abingdon, Kingsport and Greeneville — over the coming months.

About 42 currently filled positions will be eliminated as a result of clinics being consolidated. Those positions make up part of the 150 layoffs announced in April.

Ballad Health now operates two urgent care clinics in each of those four cities, and the decision to consolidate its walk-in clinic services, according to the statement, was to “make better use of its resources.”

In Abingdon, Johnson City and Kingsport’s East Stone Drive location, the former First Assist Urgent Care clinics will move to the former Wellmont Urgent Care locations.

Levine has said leaving Mountain States Health Alliance and Wellmont Health System as separate systems would eventually have cost as many as 1,000 jobs once a “for-profit” company intervened and snatched up one or both of the hospital systems.

Levine followed up his initial tweet with two more: one about the reinvestment of resources and another about the hospital system’s savings from bond refinancing.

“We celebrate nurses by hiring them!” he tweeted. “Thanks to our academic partners, like @etsu @MilliganCollege and others, we can keep hiring. @BalladHealth reduces administrative cost and reinvests in nurses. The right thing to do.

“More good news. @BalladHealth priced our new bonds for refinancing yesterday. Overwhelming demand for our bonds. Higher credit ratings and a good story = $20 million in annual savings. Could not have happened without the merger.”

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