ValleyCare plans layoffs at Northside

By William K. Alcorn


ValleyCare Health System of Ohio’s Northside Medical Center announced Wednesday that it is laying off a number of employees.

“In an effort to more closely align staffing to the community’s usage of services, we have determined a staff adjustment is appropriate,” said Trish Hrina, vice president of marketing and public relations for ValleyCare Health System of Ohio.

Hrina said the adjustment will affect about 68 full-time equivalents at Northside, 500 Gypsy Lane.

It is not clear whether the 68 FTEs refer to 68 full-time employees or 68 full-time-equivalent employees. A full-time equivalent is the combination of part-time positions that equal a full-time position.

The hospital’s statement also does not indicate the effective date of the layoffs nor which employee groups, such as nurses and service workers, are affected or whether they are union and/or nonunion employees.

Telephone calls to Hrina to elaborate on those issues were not returned. Neither were calls made to leaders of unions that represent employees at Northside.

ValleyCare’s statement continued: “We value the skills and services of all these employees and regret that reductions are necessary, however, our patient volumes do not support the current workforce. We want Northside to be a sustainable healthcare provider for this community, and we continue to pursue strategies for growth and make investments in the services the community is using most, such as inpatient medical care, outpatient surgery and emergency services,” Hrina said.

This is not the first round of layoffs at Northside since Community Health System and its affiliate, ValleyCare, purchased the former Forum Health out of bankruptcy for $120 million Oct. 1, 2010.

Forum Health included two acute-care hospitals, Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren and Northside Medical Center; Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland and several outpatient clinics and ancillary facilities.

In November 2013, ValleyCare Northside announced the elimination of 56.4 FTE positions affecting union and nonunion employees as a result of combining several care units to improve efficiency. It was the second round of layoffs at Northside within three months.

Early in August 2013, the hospital said it was laying off 77 FTE staff members, including several registered nurses.

The relationship between the hospital and the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association has often been contentious.

For instance, YGDNA membership, which had been working without a contract since July 19, 2012, conducted a one-day strike Sept. 24, 2013. 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.

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