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Des Moines Hospital Announces Layoffs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- A Des Moines health care system has laid off 29 employees because of losses blamed on low insurance payments.
   Mercy Medical Center is laying off the workers as part of an effort to reduce payroll costs by $15 million.
   Mercy President Bob Ritz wrote in a memo to employees that the cuts were needed due to financial difficulties he blamed in part on low payments from public and private health insurance organizations. He says some positions also are being kept vacant and some employees are being allowed to voluntarily reduce their hours.
   Ritz noted the layoffs were a small percentage of the roughly 7,000 people employed by Mercy.

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