St. Vincent Hospital Lays Off 60 People
117 positions eliminated in response to services slowdown
WORCESTER — St. Vincent Hospital said last night it has eliminated 117 jobs, putting about 60 people out of work.
With the reductions, which took effect immediately, the hospital is employing 1,800, the same number it had two years ago, officials said.
The hospital said the cuts were in response to fewer diagnostic procedures, laboratory work and elective surgeries.
“We’re seeing a slowdown and responded to it,” said spokesman Dennis L. Irish. “It’s unfortunate and regrettable.”
The cuts were spread among union and nonunion positions and include managers and bedside nurses, Mr. Irish said. Those affected by the cuts were notified yesterday and severance packages were offered. The 117 positions eliminated include a number of vacant and unfilled positions.
The cuts in nursing come a few weeks after another 50 nursing positions were eliminated, said Marlena J. Pellegrino, co-chairman of the Massachusetts Nurses Association bargaining unit at the hospital. The earlier reductions resulted in the elimination of about 10 full-time equivalent positions, Ms. Pellegrino said.
Another round of cuts was unexpected and troublesome, she said.
Ms. Pellegrino said she expected some layoffs at the hospital this fall, but didn’t believe they would come from the ranks of nurses.
“It’s definitely a shock to find direct-care nurses will be affected again,” she said. “We don’t have an abundance of nurses and we’re still fighting for appropriate staffing.”
She said the hospital should have looked at other parts of its operations if cutbacks were necessary.
“We will go through the process again and try to maintain as much patient safety as possible,” she said.
Mr. Irish said the hospital’s revenues remain positive, but the hospital needs to “staff to our needs.”
St. Vincent Hospital is owned by Vanguard Health Systems Inc. of Nashville, which operates 28 hospitals around the country. The publicly traded company will report its first-quarter results Nov. 1.
For the first nine months of the fiscal year that ended June 30, St. Vincent reported an operating surplus of $18 million, according to the state Division of Health Care Finance and Policy.
UMass Memorial Health Care, the region’s dominant hospital system, announced last year it would lay off 130 to 140 workers, due in part to a slowdown in inpatient admissions.
By Bob Kievra TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF