Athenahealth closing Atlanta Client Support Center, laying off 61 workers

In a filing to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, the EHR company said layoffs would begin on Dec. 18.
By Bernie Monegain
11:48 AM
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Athenahealth closing Atlanta office

Making good on his promise to downsize and reorganize his troubled cloud-based EHR company, athenahealth CEO Jonathan Bush said he will close the company’s Atlanta Client Support Center.

The Atlanta site at one time employed more than 500 people.

In a document obtained by Healthcare IT News, notifying the Georgia Department of Economic Development of the anticipated closure of its Client Support Center, athenahealth Vice President of Human Resources Lorraine Vargas Townsend, writes that athenahealth “will be closing its Atlanta Client Support Center.”

[Also: Bush: Athenahealth cuts 9% of workforce, closes offices, sells jet in 'one-time' tightening]

The Atlanta layoffs begin on Dec. 18 with 61 employees. More layoffs are scheduled in phases at the Atlanta location until all of the Atlanta Client Support Center is closed.

“The action is expected to be permanent,” Townsend wrote, adding that athenahealth’s Atlanta Office will continue to operate. She did not indicate how many employees would remain in the Atlanta Office.

[Also: Is a takeover of athenahealth inevitable?]

During athenahealth third-quarter call with analysts on October 20, Bush said he was poised to take belt-tightening measures, including trimming the workforce by 9 percent, reducing spending by $115 million – and selling the company jet.

In June 2013, athenahealth, which is headquartered in Watertown, Massachusetts, announced it would invest $10.8 million in the expansion at the Ponce City Market development in Atlanta. Bush promised to create 500 new high-paying jobs over five years.

Ponce City Market is a mixed-use project that includes residential units, restaurants and retail in addition to office space. Athenahealth offices occupied 75,000 feet, and the company was the development’s first major office tenant.

“We are building a national health information backbone that will have a revolutionary impact on the cost and quality of healthcare and are increasingly focused on ensuring our teams work in environments that encourage innovation and collaboration and support the important work we do,” Bush said when he confirmed the plans for the Atlanta office on June 27, 2013.

Today, atehenahealth continues to face a takeover by Elliott Associates.

The investment firm picked up a nearly 10 percent share in athenahealth back in May of 2017.

Just last week, the athenahealth Board of Directors approved a new company severance plan for top executives. Bush would receive his usual pay and bonus for 24 months. Other top executives would receive one year of pay.

Athenahealth disclosed its plans in an October 27 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com