H-CENTRAL COAST

Aug 5, 2011 9:24 PM by Ariel Wesler

CHW lays off 30 healthcare workers

Some Central Coast hospitals are cutting jobs to offset rising healthcare costs.

Catholic Healthcare West laid off a total of 30 people today. 19 were from Marian Medical Center in Santa Maria. The rest were from Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. he layoffs were limited to support staff and management.

CHW says most patients at its three Central Coast hospitals depend on Medicare or Medi-Cal, and these days, the hospitals are footing the bill.

Hospital leaders say because of healthcare reform, they are no longer getting as much money in reimbursements from the federal and state governments or insurance carriers. CHW says it has been working for months to try and reduce expenses while working more efficiently. The hospital group says patients are waiting before going to the doctor.

"They are facing challenges economically and so they're not going to the doctor. They are not taking preventive maintenance and so we're seeing them in the hospital when they're sicker," said CHW Spokeswoman Megan Maloney

CHW leaders say these cut backs will help them meet the growing needs of the community. The Human Resources Department closed early today at Marian Medical Center for a staff meeting to explain the changes. The hospital says the new hospital being built in Santa Maria was already paid for through donations from its fundraising campaign. That money cannot be used to pay for day-to-day operations.

CHW says employees that were laid off are getting severance packages and career counseling. Officials are trying to find them jobs within the CHW network at other hospitals in California, Arizona, and Nevada.

CHW leaders say they are facing the same challenges as other hospitals nationwide.

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