Major Boston teaching hospital offering buyouts to 1,600

One of Boston's most prestigious teaching hospitals on Thursday announced that it is offering voluntary buyouts to 1,600 employees as a way to control costs during a period of uncertainty in the health care business.

"Our expenses continue to rise while constraints by government and payers are keeping our revenues flat," Brigham and Women's Hospital said in a statement. "This is negatively affecting our financial health, and we need to work differently in order to sustain our mission for the future."

Layoffs are possible depending on how many people accept a buyout, hospital officials said.

Workers must be 60 or older to be eligible for the buyout offer, which includes a year of base pay.

"This will help us to reduce our full-time employee count, respect and honor those whose careers are winding down and create opportunities for emerging leaders within the organization," the hospital's statement said.

Physicians, faculty, and research staff are excluded from the buyout plan.

The hospital, which has about 16,000 employees, has already been leaving some positions unfilled as a way to control costs.

Brigham and Women's, a 793-bed affiliate of Harvard Medical School , is a founding member of Partners HealthCare , the largest health network in Massachusetts.

Partners reported an operating loss of $17 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2017, and a $108 million loss for the 2016 fiscal year, due largely to its struggling Medicaid insurer.

The hospital delivers more babies than any other hospital in the state and has made international news in recent years for its groundbreaking face and arm transplant surgery.