Clovis News

Saint Agnes hospital cutbacks will affect 150

Saint Agnes Medical Center is laying off employees and reducing work hours to cope with a weakened economy, health care reform and declining reimbursements for care, the hospital said Wednesday.

About 150 employees would be affected, the hospital said, but officials declined to say how many of those would be laid off and how many would see a reduction in work hours.

The hospital also declined to say when the layoffs would happen but noted that staff would be reduced in fiscal year 2012, which begins July 1.

Saint Agnes has about 2,800 employees, according to its website.

Depending on how many lose their jobs, it could be among the largest recent private-sector layoffs in the Fresno area. Schneider Electric eliminated 30 jobs at its Clovis-based Pelco operation in April. The company laid off 50 Pelco employees in May 2010 and more than 100 in January 2010.

Saint Agnes, a nonprofit hospital owned by Michigan-based Trinity Health, last laid off workers in 2009 when 28 nonclinical workers were let go in January and 17 support staff in May. Those layoffs were necessary to compensate for a decline in state and federal reimbursements and an increase in charity care, the hospital said at the time.

The latest work force reductions were difficult but necessary "to protect and preserve Saint Agnes as a valuable community asset," Saint Agnes said Wednesday in a written statement.

The past year "has been one of the most financially challenging in Saint Agnes Medical Center's recent history," the hospital said.

Employees who lose jobs will receive separation packages based on years of service and employment status, Saint Agnes said.

The hospital did not specify which employees would be affected by the layoffs or whether they include workers who provide direct patient care.

Hospital spokeswoman Kelley Sanchez said "these decisions were made very carefully and thoughtfully and are not expected to have any adverse impact on our mission of caring for patients in our community."

Saint Agnes Interim President and CEO Nancy Hollingsworth said in the written statement that "our patients and community can be assured that we will overcome these current challenges and that, in the end, Saint Agnes will emerge stronger and better positioned to continue our legacy of compassionate, quality patient care."