In another sign of continuing trouble for the healthcare industry, a health benefits company has closed its Rancho Cordova office after cutting more than 200 jobs. Sacramento Business Journal Editor Adam Steinhauer talks about the details of this Phoenix-based company with CapRadio host Steve Milne.
On TriWest HealthCare Alliance
TriWest Healthcare Alliance contracts with the Department of Veterans Affairs to manage healthcare for veterans who are either too far from VA facilities or who are having trouble getting appointments because of backlogs there.
Like many companies, they furloughed 249 positions in April. Two months later, in June, they disclosed to the state that those furloughs were made into permanent layoffs. They also shut down their physical office in Rancho Cordova. Our understanding from the company is that they still have employees in the Sacramento region who are teleworking, but we're unsure of how many. The company would not confirm the number for us.
On why the company is closing
It’s a story we have heard a lot in the healthcare industry these last few months. Basically, a lot of people are deferring their healthcare for fear of catching COVID-19, at health care facilities. So they're avoiding hospitals and health clinics. Consistent with that trend, TriWest was getting fewer referrals from the VA and their volume dropped off. That's why they said it was necessary for them to to reduce their workforce.
On what this case shows about the healthcare industry in the middle of the pandemic
It’s an illustrative story in terms of the reversal of growth for the Sacramento region. When TriWest opened that Rancho Cordova office back in 2015, it was believed to be the first company recruited to the region by the Greater Sacramento Economic Council.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
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