Faxton-St. Luke's Healthcare announces 24 layoffs, elimination of 28 vacant positions

UTICA, N.Y. - Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare announced the elimination of 52 full and part-time positions, which includes the layoffs of 24 employees and elimination of an additional 28 vacant positions.

The positions are non-clinical and clinical and include supervisory and non-supervisory personnel. Eligible employees were offered a severance package. The hospital has also made changes that impact two patient support programs.

In the last 30 days the hospital has experienced a significant decrease in the number of inpatients, adjusting for the lower volume by temporarily closing two smaller nursing units. The hospital is reviewing its options on how best to manage the reduced census by exploring early retirements, reduction in work hours and, if necessary, temporary layoffs.

“The decisions to downsize our workforce and change the services we provide to our community are never easy,” noted Scott H. Perra, Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare’s president/CEO. “Throughout the previous 18 months we eliminated 54 full-time equivalent positions through attrition and have been cautious about filling any openings. But the grim reality is that New York’s ongoing budget crisis continues to present financial challenges for hospitals. New York’s Medicaid and the Federal government’s Medicare reimbursements are an ever changing target, compounded with a growing indigent population, the inability to make changes as quickly as we would like under the current regulatory system and competition with private companies and physician practices.”

The organization is also closing their elective outpatient maintenance pulmonary rehabilitation program and will no longer provide a dedicated RN for their Women’s Health, Education and Referral Service (HERS).

The outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program at the Faxton Campus is an optional program available to support patients with chronic lung disease. The program has a current enrollment of 40 patients. As the program ends, outpatients who require additional support will be referred to Respiratory Therapy at the St. Luke’s Campus for individual follow up. The HERS program, Women’s Health, Education and Referral Service, will continue to have a dedicated phone line with calls for information referred to individual departments and/or services.

“Caring for our patients is at the center of all we do and these changes will not impact our ability to provide safe, quality care for our community. However any reductions of employees and changes in programs have a significant impact on our hospital family. We recognize how difficult these changes can be and we are working to support our employees and patients during this transition,” said Perra.

The hospital system is comprised of Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare, St. Luke’s Home, Visiting Nurse Association, Senior Network Health and Mohawk Valley Home Care with a workforce of 3,100 employees and 2010 operating revenue of $322 million. Since August of last year, the hospital has experienced 5 consecutive months of operating losses. The last time the organization experienced an annual operating loss was in 2001.

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