On Tuesday, Meriter spokesperson Mary Reinke said in a statement that about 4 percent of the hospital's 3,500 positions would be eliminated. That's 140 positions cut, but 50 employees affected, because many of those positions are currently vacant. Some of those 50 employees among various departments will be offered jobs elsewhere in the company.
Reinke says the layoffs are a pre-emptive move to offset cuts to Medicare reimbursements put in place by the federal Affordable Care Act.
According to Wisconsin Hospital Association President Steve Brenton, the state's 135 hospitals receive Medicare funding based on the Medicare business they take on. Brenton says Medicare is about 40 percent of most hospitals' business.
The Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare payments to hospitals across Wisconsin by about $2.6 billion over ten years. Brenton says that could mean big cuts to operating budgets at many hospitals like Meriter.