Healdsburg District Hospital announced plans Thursday to lay off 30 employees, or 8 percent of its workforce, as it adapts to changes in the way health care is delivered.
CEO Nancy Schmid said the hospital is revising its operational and care models to meet the needs of patients while responding to cost-cutting pressures unleashed by federal health care reform.
The hospital, which currently employs 360 workers, has been evaluating its cost structure and comparing the size of its workforce with other area hospitals, Schmid said.
"That effort produced awareness that our workforce structure needed to be adjusted if we were to maintain a financially sound, full-service hospital with the resources required to invest in future technologies, our staff, and the emerging services that will best serve our community in the face of the Federal health care reform and local changes in the health care industry," Schmid said in a statement.
Susan Spoelma, chief nursing officer, said that hospitals across the country are expecting less revenue due to changes in the health care system.
"With the Affordable Care Act, many people will be insured at the affordable care rate, and reimbursements will be much lower," she said.
The hospital attempted to minimize the number of layoffs by slowing hiring, leaving open positions unfilled and reassigning some employees, Schmid said.
"Layoffs were our last resort, but they were unfortunately necessary in setting up the organization for future success," she said. "For a long time, we've needed to get our financial system in line. This is a step in the right direction."
The cuts affect a combination of direct care staff and support workers in various departments, including hospital administration and nursing assistants. Hospital employees are not union members.
It is the first layoff since the North Sonoma County Healthcare District took over operations of the 108-year-old hospital in 2002, said Vivian Beaulieu, an executive assistant. The district is mainly comprised of Windsor, Healdsburg, Geyserville, Cloverdale and the surrounding areas and serves approximately 60,000 residents.
Schmid said the layoffs will not affect quality of care.
"We are hopeful this is the only time we will have to do this, because it's never easy. However, we will continue to re-evaluate in the coming months," she said.