By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island announced Wednesday that it has eliminated 43 positions, effective immediately. Sixty percent of the workforce reductions were management positions, according to the health insurer.
The cut in its workforce was positioned as part of Blue Cross’s ongoing commitment to operate as efficiently as possible and to moderate the long-term cost of health care in Rhode Island, according to spokeswoman Kimberly Reingold.
“After a thorough review of our business, we identified opportunities to improve efficiency and streamline the company’s management structure – from vice presidents to team leaders – in order for managers to make decisions more quickly, reduce the distance between management and customers, and have consistent accountability across all levels of the organization,” Reingold said.
“While decisions like this are never easy, Blue Cross is committed to regularly evaluating our operations to ensure we function as efficiently as possible without sacrificing quality of service for our members,” she added.
Blue Cross, with about $1.6 billion in revenues and more than 1,000 employees, said that it has been able to reduce administration costs and expenses during the last two years by approximately $12 million, according to Reingold.
But it has not been enough, she continued, saying the new reductions were “necessary to ensure that we are structured in a way [that] we are in the best position possible to move our continued efforts forward on transforming the local health care delivery system to improve access to affordable, high quality health care.”
In November 2011, Blue Cross announced an earlier restructuring, with the reduction of 39 full time and three part-time positions.
At the time, Blue Cross said that the restructuring was being done under the leadership of Blue Cross’s president and CEO Peter Andruszkiewicz, with the goal of reducing administrative costs to less than 15 percent of every premium dollar.”