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Latest News - September 2013

September 19, 2013
St. John Medical Center reduces nursing staff
Source: The Daily News
By:
Lyxan Toledanes

St. John Medical Center has reduced nursing staff hours and positions in response to the hospital’s declining patient load, but officials declined to be specific Thursday.

Ken Cole, director of communications and marketing for the PeaceHealth Columbia Network, which runs St. John, said some nurses were asked to consider voluntary hour reductions or layoffs. He would not reveal how many nurses were affected but said they were in the hospital’s acute care tower, which are inpatient units.

The changes come during a time of financial challenge for PeaceHealth, which recently trimmed 500 jobs — including 177 through layoffs — at St. John and Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver to help close a $130 million budget deficit across the three-state PeaceHealth system. Most of the cuts were made through attrition, according to PeaceHealth.

When PeaceHealth announced the layoffs, the network’s Chief Operating Officer Sy Johnson said St. John would avoid cuts that affect bedside care and instead cut administrative and management positions.

Cole said the staffing changes are standard practices for the hospital as patient numbers decrease.

“If you have fewer patients to care for, you (need) fewer caregivers for the patients,” Cole said.

Lillie Cridland, communications specialist with the Washington State Nurses Association, said in an email the union is “fighting to ensure that patient care remains the top priority at PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center.”

The union, which represents more than 400 registered nurses at St. John, said it was still gathering information about which positions were cut.

Cridland did not return calls for comment.

 

 

 


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