Geisinger Health System this spring temporarily froze about 400 open positions, bracing for an estimated $50 million reduction in profitability in fiscal year 2015.

The decision reflects cuts in federal reimbursement payments and the health system's effort to extensively evaluate each opening, officials said.

About 225 positions remain unfilled, with about 30 percent of those jobs located in northeast Pennsylvania, said chief human resource officer Amy Brayford in an emailed statement.

She said the openings span the entire health system, which serves more than 2.6 million residents across 44 counties in central and northeast Pennsylvania. Most of the positions do not provide direct patient care.

Geisinger Health System employs about 21,000 people.

"Many (positions) were open and not actively being recruited, were duplicate positions or were no longer necessary," Brayford said. "This ongoing evaluation prioritizes the positions, which are most important to patient care and clinical operations. Every new position is reviewed prior to posting internally or externally."

Wendy Wilson, associate vice president of corporate communications, said the health system's new procedure requires officials to justify the need for a position and get approval from leadership before moving forward.

She said the health system must focus on managing expenses appropriately.

The cuts in federal payments coupled with an increase in costs equal an expected $50 million reduction in profitability in fiscal year 2015, said Mike Ferlazzo, public relations specialist. Geisinger ended fiscal year 2013 with a $163.3 million operating income, excluding interest expense, according to its 2013 annual report.

Payment reductions stemming from the Affordable Care Act and sequestration will cost Geisinger Community Medical Center in Scranton $3.5 million in revenue in fiscal 2015. Over the next 10 years, the cuts will equal a $52 million reduction in payments to GCMC.

"We are still hiring new employees following the new procedure and after leadership approval is obtained," Wilson said in a statement.