170 positions eliminated from Batesville plant
Hill-Rom to cut 300 positions nationwide

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

Recently the decision was approved by Hill-Rom’s Board of Directors to make some changes in the company, one of which will impact local jobs.

According to information from a press release, the reduction in capital spending being seen by US hospitals has caused their company, which is a leading worldwide manufacturer of medical technologies and related services for the health care industry, to take another look at how they structure their business.

The news release noted the decision will impact about 450 people, more specifically the net reduction of positions is said to be about 300. Company officials noted that about 170 of the 300 will be salaried and production positions that will be cut from the Batesville facility. Those cuts are expected to take place in the next several weeks.

As of last week the company was planning to consolidate current patient support manufacturing operations from its Charleston, South Carolina facility to its Batesville operations and to some outside suppliers. Also, a number of Post Acute Care Accounts Receivable positions will be consolidated to create one Center of Excellence in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was noted that the Batesville facility will eliminate a number of positions due to the lowered demand for hospital capital items as well as a result of ongoing productivity enhancements.

It was noted that associates who are affected by the position eliminations will receive enhanced severance packages, including ongoing health care benefits and outplacement services.
Some employees were offered a voluntary early retirement program.

“These are painful decisions, particularly because they directly affect our dedicated associates during these challenging times; however, I want to reiterate the company’s commitment to stay the course on our strategy and maintain our investments in selling and new product development,” noted Peter Soderberg, president and CEO.

It was noted that the eliminations and consolidations will result in an annual savings of approximately $12 to $14 million, about half of which is related to volume declines.

Hill-Rom announced on January 14 revenue for the first fiscal quarter was $350 million, an increase of 2.6 percent. It was noted the company would report on its first quarter earnings on February 5 providing more financial details on what the future outlook will be.