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Welch Allyn to eliminate jobs at Skaneateles Falls plant

Medical instruments manufacturer Welch Allyn has decided to trim jobs in Central New York as part of a three year plan to restructure its operations.
SKANEATELES FALLS -- Medical instruments manufacturer Welch Allyn has decided to trim jobs in Central New York as part of a three year plan to restructure its operations.

The company announced Monday plans to eliminate about 275 jobs - 10 percent of its global workforce -- to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing healthcare environment.

Welch Allyn President and CEO Steve Meyer said in an interview that approximately 45 jobs will be eliminated from the Skaneateles Falls plant that is the company's home.

"A representative with Welch Allyn says the company will establish three distinct New Product Development and Technology Centers -- one of those centers will be in Skaneateles Falls. Two other centers will be located in Beaverton, Oregon and Singapore. The Oregon plant will send its manufacturing work to the Skaneateles Falls facility."

Meyer said that a stagnant economy has depressed sales of its high-tech medical diagnostic devices. However, Meyer said the main reason for the cutbacks is to cope with a little-known aspect of the Affordable Healthcare Act, known also as Obamacare.

The law imposes a 2.3 percent tax on the raw revenue - before expenses and deductions - of medical device manufacturers. Welch Allyn is a privately held company, so Meyer declined to provides firm numbers on the company's sales. However, he said the tax will cost the company millions of dollars. He called the tax onerous and regressive.

"It has caused us to think about how we deploy going forward," Meyer said.

He said other medical device manufacturers have already announced plans to cut back in order to deal with the new tax. He said he is hopeful his industry will continue to fight against the tax.

"It's impactful," he said of the surcharge. "We want the device industry to be held up as innovative. This tax impacts that."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said that the Beaverton, Oregon plant would close. It will not close. Instead, it will transition from a manufacturing facility to a product development and technology center. We apologize for the error.

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