Hennepin County Medical Center is planning to reduce its workforce by as many 275 full-time positions next year to balance its budget and keep the opening of a new ambulatory and outpatient surgery center on schedule for 2018.

Hospital executives provided additional specifics on the workforce reduction, which was first disclosed last week, at a committee meeting Wednesday of the Hennepin County Board of commissioners, which is scheduled to vote on the hospital budget next Tuesday.

The actual number might not reach 275, said chief financial officer Derrick Hollings, and some jobs might disappear through attrition rather than layoffs. But the total proposed workforce reduction will equal $28 million in savings for the big safety-net hospital in downtown Minneapolis.

"At the end of the process, it is not our anticipation that the actual pink slips or layoffs will be 275," Hollings said.

Wage freezes would save another $3 million.

The proposed budget anticipates a net loss of $3 million by the end of 2017, despite projecting $950 million in revenue and a stable number of patients seeking care from HCMC's hospital and clinics.

Even though patient activity has increased at HCMC, hospital leaders have bemoaned the high share of patients who are covered by the state's Medical Assistance program. They argue that the state program for poor and disabled Minnesotans reimburses hospitals and clinics below the cost of caring for patients.

Construction of the ambulatory center, across the street from the hospital, is expected to draw a broader mix of patients, including those with private insurance, that could help stabilize HCMC's finances.

The hospital's leaders have not clarified what types of workers are at risk for layoffs next year. Asked if executives' and doctors' jobs were also at risk, the hospital's chief executive, Dr. Jon Pryor, told county commissioners that "everything's on the table."

Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744