HONESDALE, PA — Wayne Memorial Hospital (WMH), the county’s second-largest employer, has announced that it’s cutting both staff sizes and certain non-core services, citing financial …
HONESDALE, PA — Wayne Memorial Hospital (WMH), the county’s second-largest employer, has announced that it’s cutting both staff sizes and certain non-core services, citing financial challenges.
According to local reporting, the hospital’s core services include surgery, emergency, orthopedics and obstetrical/GYN care. Certain specialties like cardiology, nephrology, neurology, pulmonology and gastroenterology, inpatient acute care and rehabilitation services are considered core services too.
The layoffs announced will only impact the hospital itself. Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers, which provide physician services, dental care and behavior health throughout the region will not be affected. Wayne Woodlands Manor, a 24-hour nursing care facility in Waymart, is also not part of this announcement.
At press time, WMH has not made public the number of workers who will be laid off, but did say the immediate layoffs include some administrative and non-direct patient care employees. A portion of those affected, according to reporting by the Tri-County Independent, have been offered alternative employment with WMH or an affiliate.
The non-core programs on the chopping block have also not been made public yet.
WMH said these services will be evaluated against community health needs throughout the next few months to “determine potential future changes or restructuring.”
WMH CEO James Pettinato, who took over that position from David Hoff in 2022, said that the hospital is weathering economic hardships and rising costs set into motion by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Although patient volumes at the hospital are for the most part back to pre-pandemic levels, that good news is offset by the vastly increased costs for necessities such as supplies and temporary personnel, while at the same time having to live with substantially lower government and insurance reimbursements,” Pettinato said in a release. “In addition, we bear the effects of the major salary and benefits increases that we, like most hospitals, had to implement during COVID in order to retain existing employees and attract new ones in key direct care positions.”
By refocusing on core services, Pettinato said the hospital will better meet its current needs while positioning itself for the future.
“Streamlined management, consolidated service locations and tailoring programs and services to our true community needs enable us to spend our limited resources and energies more wisely, such as acquiring advanced technologies and physician specialties to meet the needs of our patients and our community,” he said.
The challenges WMH face are not unique. According to a 2022 report published by the American Hospital Association (AHA), hospital and health system expenses were expected to increase by nearly $135 billion throughout the year, driven by a projected $86 billion increase in labor expenses.
“Managing the aftermath of the pandemic has placed the vast majority of America’s hospitals in serious financial jeopardy as they experience severe workforce shortages, broken supply chains, the Medicare two-percent sequester kicking back in and rapid inflation that has increased the cost of caring,” AHA president and CEO Rick Pollack said. “These realities translate into access to services being put in jeopardy. This deserves the immediate attention of policymakers at every level of government to ensure we are able to keep people healthy and maintain essential public services that our communities depend on.”
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