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ValleyCare Northside to cut dozens more jobs, combine units



Published: Fri, November 1, 2013 @ 12:10 a.m.

By William K. Alcorn

alcorn@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

ValleyCare Northside Medical Center is eliminating 56.4 full-time equivalent positions affecting union and nonunion employees as a result of combining several care units to improve efficiency.

A full-time equivalent, or FTE, is the combination of part-time positions that equal a full-time position.

The hospital would not reveal how many employees will lose their jobs nor the effective date of the layoffs.

This is the second round of layoffs at Northside in the past three months.

Early in August, the hospital announced it would lay off 77 FTE staff members, including six or seven registered nurses. As with the Thursday announcement, no timetable for the layoffs was given.

On Thursday afternoon, Eric Williams, president of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association, said preliminary indications were that 3.8 FTE registered nurses would be affected.

The YGDNA’s 485 RNs at Northside, who have been working without a contract since July 19, 2012, conducted a one-day strike Sept. 24. Upon returning to the hospital the next day, the RNs found they were locked out for varying periods of time ranging from 72 hours to a week.

After the strike, the nurses voted to reauthorize its union negotiating committee to call another strike against the hospital if deemed necessary.

The union says its major issues revolve around staffing and the lack of specific language in the hospital’s final offer giving nurses an unfettered voice in patient care as in its previous contract.

The hospital says its final offer to the nurses did not inhibit them from speaking out on patient care.

Northside nurses start at $23.94 an hour. Their top wage is $29.88, the YGDNA reported.

The Service Employees International Union District 1199, which also represents employees at Northside as well as at Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren, did not return a telephone call seeking comment on the layoffs.

The restructuring changes will support the continued delivery of high-quality care while providing primarily private patient rooms and the same care patients expect, said Trish Hrina, vice president of marketing for Northside Medical Center, an affiliate of ValleyCare Health System of Ohio.

In a letter to employees and volunteers dated Oct. 30, Kirk Ray, Northside chief executive officer, said several health care units will be restructured, including combining holding areas for Same Day Care and Post Procedure Care into one unit and combining the orthopedic and medical/surgical units.

As a result of the restructuring, 56.4 FTEs will be eliminated, primarily affecting positions in nursing, respiratory, imaging and laboratory areas, Ray said.

Since October 2010, ValleyCare has been working to preserve hospital services and invest in resources to support the high quality of care at Northside, Ray said. Unfortunately, during this same period, hospitals across the country have experienced dramatic changes with lower patient volumes and shrinking reimbursements.

Also, he said, advances in treatments have made more services available on an outpatient basis, and competition from nontraditional health care providers has grown.

“Northside is not immune to these challenges and has also experienced significant volume declines this year,” Ray said.

As the changes are implemented, Ray asked that “everyone do the right thing for our patients ... and focus on providing quality health care.”

“Treat each other with respect. Leave our differences at the door and care for the people who choose Northside for their medical needs,” he said.

“We value every one of our employees,” said Hrina.

“Our team members who are leaving have served Northside and this community with dedication and we thank them. Those of us who remain share that same commitment,” she said.

“We are committed to our community and the patients who count on us for quality care,” Hrina said.


Comments

1HUSTONMOLLY1(1 comment)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Personally, I am sick and tired of hearing employers say they care about all of their employees and next thing you know they are getting rid of the people they say they care about. Really? Does everyone think people are stupid? No one seems to care about anyone anymore. Such a "me - narcisstic" world we live in.

Get rid of some of the top people who make the irrational decisions and paid the high dollar. Ninety-nine percent of these people haven't a clue what goes on down in the trenches, nor do they care. Just make sure you treat those paitents well so we can collect what really matters and give us our paycheck.

Let's make sure we get as much of the market share of patients as we can. We really care about the patients. 'NOT'.

What this country, as a whole, cares about is their own personal needs and pocketbooks.

Now hospitals care about the treatment of patients because their reimbursement is based on just that. If reimbursement were not based on how patients were treated, we would be going back the other way in the treatment of patients. What is wrong with people these days and their thinking?

I am not alone in my thoughts, believe it or not.

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2123goz(580 comments)posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago

...have experienced dramatic changes with lower patient volumes and shrinking reimbursements.

So that giant expansion is/was needed?

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3CompManRetired(29 comments)posted 10 months, 2 weeks ago

It all comes down to for-profit hospitals whose primary role is revenue/profit for shareholders vs not-for-profit hospitals whose primary role was created for taking care of the poor and community as a fully tax exempt organization. Each has its place in the market. Most of us choose a hospital based upon the confidence we have in our selected physicians and where they choose to be affiliated and only in passing consider the hospital. Detailing the differences would be a good Vindy article to inform the community as health care is morphing in the US.

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4papa1(662 comments)posted 10 months, 2 weeks ago

personally I think it's scary what's happening at northside. why isn't trumbull or hillside affected. if I need to go to the hospital it will be st. e's not northside. anyone who has been in northside within the last five or ten years can see the difference. you can see the stress on nurses faces. their workload is too much and something bad will happen eventually. of course we'll never hear about it. what happens at northside,stays at northside. they should go back ten or twelve years and investigate how northside was run and they'll realize some people should have gone to jail.

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5TERRAPINST(302 comments)posted 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Okay people big boy time. Businesses are DESIGNED TO MAKE MONEY. I am quite sure that while working all employees were paid. I have never taken a job where the employer said "Oh and by the way, this is a lifetime appointment and you'll never have to worry again". I am sorry for people have lost their positions and it hurts the area but don't demonize the employer because they want to be more profitable-that is THEIR JOB. The only guaranteed employment is working in government or unionized government then its impossible to lose your job even when deserving.

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6JS(651 comments)posted 10 months, 2 weeks ago

There are just gearing up for ObamaCare where nobody cares about you, just your money. The only thing lacking now is an onsite crematorium for your convenience.

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7lumper(281 comments)posted 10 months, 2 weeks ago

sadly, northside does have alot of nonproductive people at the high end of the wage scale. worse yet, it has more buffoons in supervisory positions than the gov't. just get the ceo to answer 'why expand if you plan to close the place ?'

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