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Plumas District Hospital laid off four employees the week before Christmas and reduced the hours of two others.
“It’s never a good time,” said Doug Lafferty, the hospital’s chief executive officer, of reducing staff during the holidays. But he said that in the past when he waited until after the holidays to eliminate jobs, the employees told him that they wished they had known before Christmas.
Those who lost their jobs included two full-time and two part-time employees.
Lafferty said that he added staff when the hospital began ramping up for the implementation of electronic medical records and those hired knew that it was for an indeterminate amount of time.
Originally, Lafferty thought additional help would be needed for six months, but it has been a year.
Lafferty said reductions were necessary as the hospital continues to lose money at a rate of $80,000 to $100,000 per month.
And looking forward, Lafferty said the advent of the Affordable Care Act means reimbursement reductions of 2 percent for both Medicare and Medi-Cal and 10 percent for private pay.
“I don’t know what our cash flow will be,” he said.
In a letter that he sent to his staff Thursday, Dec. 19, Lafferty described the atmosphere of change in health care, including the Affordable Care Act. Then he wrote, “During our recent review, we made the difficult decision to reduce a few positions within the organization. We value each and every one of these individuals and this was a very difficult decision to make.
“In this time of change, it is essential that we make every decision for the good of the entire organization and to best facilitate the functions of the hospital. The long-term viability and security of the hospital are of utmost importance to all of us.”
One of the individuals laid off was the revenue enhancement manager.
While Lafferty didn’t fault the person who held the position, he said it didn’t make sense to retain a position that didn’t generate enough revenue to fund its own salary.
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