Shortfall prompts Tanana Chiefs Conference layoffs

Posted: Friday, November 08, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A budget shortfall being blamed for planned layoffs by the Tanana Chiefs Conference.

Conference officials said 10 employees will lose their jobs by the end of the year to help make up for a $6.5 million crunch.

''We've been forced to cut back,'' TCC President Buddy Brown told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. ''We've got increasing prices with a fairly flat revenue stream.''

Brown cited rising costs of prescription drugs and higher bills from other health-care providers contracted by TCC.

The positions to be eliminated are administrative. Brown said the employees were told in person Tuesday and encouraged to seek jobs elsewhere in the organization.

TCC employs about 700 people in Fairbanks and across the Interior.

Services to consumers will not change, Brown said. None of the eliminated positions are doctors or nurses.

Beside the layoffs, operations were reorganized and efficiencies found, Brown said.

Most of the organization's funding comes from the federal government.

About $4.2 million in savings is coming from changes such as more billing to Medicaid and third-party insurance carriers, Brown said.

The layoffs will account for $2.3 million of the deficit.

TCC serves the Interior and is one of the largest Alaska Native health organizations in the state.

The cuts occurred within TCC's $42 million health budget. The organization's total budget is $76 million.

Brown, who became president in March, said TCC last laid off people in 1994, and under that reorganization more people lost jobs than will occur this time.

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