The parent company of Marian Community Hospital announced plans to close the facility by February 23, 2012. Maxis Health System President and CEO Mary Theresa Vautrinot wrote in a press release that the Carbondale hospital has struggled to remain viable, sustaining multi-million dollar annual losses as the demand for services decreased.
“Within the last five years, we have invested $3.6 million in equipment, in technology and in new and enhanced services, Vautrinot said. “But we were not able to attract the critical mass of patients needed to sustain an inpatient acute care facility.”
The hospital, which has served the area for 86 years and was licensed for 70 beds, scaled back to 35 beds in January 2010, hospital officials said. For the last six months, the hospital has had an average daily census of only 20 inpatients.
Efforts to find alternatives to closing the hospital were not successful according to their press release.
“With four full service, acute care hospitals within 20 miles of Marian Community Hospital and with a constantly decreasing number of people who rely on Marian for their inpatient health care needs, it is time to accept reality that the market no longer requires the inpatient services that our hospital provides,” Vautrinot said.
Maxis Health System currently has 233 full-time and part-time employees.
“Members of the hospital’s human resources team will be meeting with colleagues individually to review severance benefits, and help guide them through this difficult time,” said Maria Diehl, hospital spokesperson. “Those who qualify will receive continuation of pay for a period of time during which health care coverage under the hospital plan will continue and will receive reimbursement for earned but unused paid time off.”
“I am saddened to learn of the decision of the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) Congregation to close Marian Community Hospital,” said Bishop Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton.
“Under the guidance and leadership of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, residents of the greater Carbondale community have had access to acute health care provided by leaders and professionals committed to preserving the dignity and sanctity of human life while serving and healing others,” he said.
The bishop who is a native of Carbondale said he was hoping that the 1992 consolidation of the former Carbondale Central and St. Joseph’s Hospital that created Marian Community would endure well into the future.
“It is apparent that the present economic conditions in Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond, combined with the current climate of health care in general continues to be our lived reality and has forced this most difficult conclusion,” Bishop Bambera said.
The bishop asked the faithful of the diocese to join him in praying for their enduring strength and resolve and “for the continued provision of health care in our community that defends Catholic teaching.”
“We’re exploring how the facility could be a health wellness center where would be emergency services, minor surgery sites, doctors’ offices and an array of other health care services,” said the City of Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor. “Already I’ve gotten some phone calls from some hospital to see if they can use the facility,” he said.
The hospital is the largest employer in the area and health care was the largest industry cluster,
Health care is one of the fastest fields for employment in the nation, he said. “We’re going to be aggressive in attracting health care providers of some kinds to come here,” he said.