Regence workforce reduced by five percent

Regence workforce reduced by five percent
LEWISTON - Downsizing has led to a workforce reduction at Regence . But Lewiston campus employees can rest easy, at least for now.

Locally company layoffs are complete for the 09' calendar year. And none are expected anywhere in Regence for 2010.

Spokesman Mike Tatko said over the past couple months, steps have been taken to reduce the workforce locally and company-wide. He said reductions are across the board and are being accomplished in a number of ways.

"Attrition, when someone leaves the company, they go back to school, get a different job or they move out of the area," said Tatko. "We've worked hard to transition their duties to people who are still on staff. We've had a number of people who decided to retire at the end of the year, transitioning into retirement, so we're transitioning their duties without filling their positions. And unfortunately at Regence we've had to have some reductions in the form of layoffs."

In Lewiston 50 jobs have been eliminated since June, but only eight of those were layoffs.

Tatko said all reductions in Idaho ,Washington, Oregon and Utah will be completed by December 31. And currently there are no plans for layoffs in 2010.

"At this point we don't have any reason to believe that we will have any more reductions," said Tatko. "However our business really relies on the people we insure and in 2009 we saw a decrease in the number we insure, so that was the reason that we had to do some planning as far as our workforce. We need to keep our employee base in line with the number of people we insure."

Tatko said while job reductions are always difficult, Regence is doing well despite the recession.

"Five percent across the workforce, across four states where we have about 6,100 employees and again you never want to see anyone lose their job, but 5 percent in this economic time is probably not that large of a number compared to some industries," said Tatko.

Tatko said even with the reductions, Regence is in the process of hiring people with skill sets that are needed in the company. Since October, 40 new customer service representatives have been hired and currently seven positions are open in Lewiston.