UT System officials say medical branch layoffs are likely

AUSTIN (AP) - The interim chancellor of the University of Texas System says a "significant" portion of workers will lose their jobs at the UT Medical Branch in Galveston.

Kenneth Shine, who is also the system's executive vice chancellor for health affairs, says the layoffs will come as a direct result of damage inflicted by Hurricane Ike. The storm cost the academic medical center about $710 million in building damage, ruined equipment, revenue losses, cleanup and evacuation. Insurance will cover about $100 million.

According to Shine, some of the 85 buildings on campus took on as much as 8 feet of water, and storm damage essentially destroyed the hospital's kitchen, blood bank and radiology department.

In addition, the center's main revenue source, a 500-bed hospital at the campus, is expected to return as a 200-bed hospital for the foreseeable future. Shine says that with the hospital and other revenue generators out of commission or at reduced capacity, the medical branch will likely operate at a deficit beginning as soon as next month.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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