McDuffie Regional Medical Center laid off 21 employees last week. Hospital officials said the cuts are necessary in order to keep the hospital operating. The hospital has taken more than $900,000 from its reserves since October.
Chief Executive Officer Sandra McVicker announced the decision. She also said the hospital will contact physicians and broaden its contacts in the community to win back admissions that have been lost to other hospitals.
“Twenty-one people will be without jobs at this hospital. However, 150 people will still have a job,” McVicker said at a Feb. 28 news conference
Hospital board Chairman William Doupé said the action is unpleasant but necessary. Doupé said the hospital board discussed the action in closed session the previous evening.
McVicker said the decision affects employees from all departments except the operating room. She said the hospital will provide those employees with lists of positions that are available at Augusta medical facilities. They also will be guided toward unemployment benefits, résumé assistance and other job-finding skills. They also will receive information on other assistance.
Remaining employees will lose some wages. Hourly employees will have their work schedules reduced by four hours every two weeks. Exempt employees will incur a 5 percent cut in pay.
McVicker said hospitals of all sizes are feeling the effects of a tighter economy, and hospitals are receiving less and less money for each patient admitted. She said the hospital will study purchases of supplies and other possible savings.
Doupé confirmed that the hospital lost more than $1 million in both 2010 and 2011. He said losses began about 10 years ago but accelerated the past two years.
McVicker said the cash reserve now stands at about $2.1 million.
The board is in the process of selling the hospital to University Health Care System. A notice of proposed transaction has been filed with the Georgia Attorney General’s Office, which will conduct a public hearing. That session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, March 29, at the Thomson-McDuffie County Government Center.