MILWAUKEE -

Ministry Health Care plans to lay off several hundred employees, citing a drop in the number of patients and cuts in federal reimbursement levels.

Ministry operates 15 hospitals and 47 clinics across Wisconsin. The facilities include Saint Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield and Saint Michael's Hospital in Stevens Point.

Ministry spokesman Geoffrey Huys said about 225 to 250 employees will be cut, mainly through attrition and job eliminations. He said it's too early to say which specific positions and sites will be affected. He also declined to offer a timetable.

Huys said the move was prompted in part because of high-deductible insurance plans that have made people less likely to seek health services. He also said federal sequestration led to a $10 million cut in Medicare reimbursements.