The Ottumwa Courier

March 28, 2013

Hospital fires 30 staff

CHELSEA DAVIS
Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — In addition to the blow of the Ottumwa Regional Health Center's daycare center closing in two months, the hospital also announced that 30 staff were being let go on Thursday, effective immediately.

"We're going through a staffing adjustment and it will affect 30 people out of a workforce of 785 people," said Ottumwa Regional Health Center CEO Phil Dionne.

Dionne said the firings are "across the board," not from one specific department.

"We're making sure our resources are aligned to our current workload," Dionne said. "We want to have the right number of people to do the job. You don't go into Menards or Burger King or McDonald's or Hy-Vee and see a lot of people sitting around and getting paid. They're doing something; they're there for a purpose, to meet the customer's needs. We have to right-side the organization to ensure we have the right number of people to maximize our resources."

The hospital began working with the 30 people on Thursday on post-employment services, including paying for their COBRA (which allows employees who have lost their job to continue to receive health insurance coverage for a limited period of time), connecting them with IowaWorks to find employment, providing them assistance in writing resumes and providing severance to each individual as is applicable.

"It comes back to the changes in reimbursement, the Affordable Care Act and the decrease in Medicaid reimbursement," Dionne said. "We just find ourselves in a position that in order to continue to provide quality of service, these are the things we have to do. None of this is easy, and none of this is taken without serious deliberation, whether it has to do with staffing or the daycare center ... because I think we've proven that we do have a significant corporate conscience and responsibility to the community. But at the end of the day, it's about providing quality patient care services."

Dionne said there is "absolutely no chance" that the hospital is in danger of closing.

"We're very strong as an organization and continuing to grow," he said.

ORHC executive director of development Suzie Wood noted that the 30 fired on Thursday make up a very small percentage of the entire hospital workforce.