Mercy cuts hit Berryville hard: Estrem, 2 others have jobs eliminated

Friday, June 26, 2015

Three leadership positions at Mercy Hospital in Berryville have been eliminated as part of a company-wide reduction in force by Mercy Health, the company confirmed in a statement Friday afternoon.

Mercy Berryville President Kristy Estrem, Vice President of Patient Care Services Michele Gann and Director of Guest Services Tammy Hipps all were released from their duties, although the company statement did not identify them by name.

"As part of a restructuring across Mercy, the positions of administrator, vice president of patient care services and director of guest services at Mercy Hospital Berryville have been eliminated," the Mercy Health statement said.

"We recognize the impact these changes have on our co-workers and their families. Those whose positions have been eliminated are receiving outplacement services and a severance package including compensation and benefits based on their position and length of service. "Mercy is grateful to those who have led our health care efforts in Berryville; they are eligible for re-hire and they are in our thoughts and prayers."

According to the statement, Doug Stroemel, administrator of Mercy's hospitals in Cassville, Mo., and Aurora, Mo., will take over administrative responsibilities for the Berryville hospital.

"He has years of experience leading multiple hospitals," the Mercy statement said.

The statement went on to stress Mercy's commitment to serving the Berryville community.

"This restructuring was necessary to ensure Mercy is able to provide care for our many communities. It is part of a cost-cutting effort to standardize operational practices across our four states.

"Mercy and other health care providers across the nation are facing multiple financial challenges, including reimbursement reductions mandated by the federal government. For Mercy, those reductions are in addition to lack of Medicaid expansion in most of our states."

According to the statement, Mercy is currently searching for an executive director to serve as "the leader on the ground" in Berryville.

Estrem had served as president of Mercy Berryville since August 2006, after 11 years as senior vice president.

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