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Layoffs Planned at Englewood Hospital

Two care units slated for closure, according to union message.

Englewood Hospital and Medical Center plans “far reaching” layoffs and the closure of two care units, according to the union representing nurses at the hospital.

“I have been notified by the [Medical Center] of their intent of a far reaching layoff that will affect many members,” said a message posted on the Health Professionals and Allied Employees website from Local 5004 President Michele McLaughlin.

The union message listed the units slated for closure by location or acronym, as 3NW and PCU. According to the medical center’s website, the units listed by the union correspond to the medical-renal unit and the progressive care unit.

"This layoff will be far reaching as there are minimal probationary employees as well as vacant positions," a union message said. "Therefore, those employees who are affected will have the ability to bump least senior nurses in all nursing units."

The number of employees impacted and when the layoffs would begin was not immediately clear. 

“We will be meeting with the Medical Center to discuss among other issues, the legitimate business considerations for this layoff,” the union’s message said.

In a statement Saturday, medical center spokeswoman Maria Margiotta said the layoffs were "a difficult but necessary step to best position us for future challenges."

Margiotta could not confirm how many staffers would be impacted or in which units. 

“In this challenging economic climate, all hospitals are experiencing dramatic changes. We all are facing the strain of the economic downturn, declining patient volumes, a rise in uninsured patients, inadequate funding for charity care, and decreasing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates," the hospital's statement said. "The prospect of adding a new acute-care hospital in Westwood in this environment is unnecessary and only adds to our challenge."

Hospital officials decided to cut clinical and non-clinical staffers, and official notice was given to union leadership this week, according to the statement. 

"Be assured, this decision has been reviewed carefully to ensure that it does not impact our ability to continue delivering the safe, quality patient care for which we are recognized," the statement said. "This is the responsible decision for the long-term health of the Medical Center and for the communities we serve."

Englewood hospital officials had fought the opening of Hackensack University Medical Center's Pascack Valley branch in Westwood, saying the facility would duplicate services and hurt nearby hospitals. 

Members plan to address the layoffs at meetings Thursday, the union's message said.  

Englewood hospital is one of Bergen County's largest employers, according to the county economic development corporation. 

Updated 8 p.m. Saturday

Howard L. Pearl August 20, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I don’t deny that I am not a big fan of socialism. I have watched our welfare system encourage abuse for years, with thousands of citizens and non-citizens collecting benefits illegally. The food stamp program is a disaster with fraud permeating the entire system. Towns like Kiryas Joel in NY have 50% of their population on food stamps while the men shirk gainful employment. Our tax dollars support these programs. The VA system has flaws also, but I agree that it has greatly benefited our veterans. But VA homes are not always well run and accessing the benefits can be very difficult. Often, families have to hire a professional to assist and to explain the entitlements. The current economic downturn has created massive unemployment. Our system should take care of these desperate families that have lost homes and cannot find jobs in the current market. I favor programs to expedite citizenship for “illegals” working in the U.S. and paying taxes. But I refuse to endorse the financial support of “illegal aliens” that slide into our country to take advantage of “free health care” through our emergency rooms. It is unreasonable to investigate a hospital because they threaten layoffs. Micromanagement of hospital affairs will only create chaos. However, it is certainly reasonable to request a full disclosure on the “office expenses” before we totally condemn the hospital and pass judgment.
Howard L. Pearl August 20, 2012 at 02:45 PM
To Matt: The expanded Medicaid program will have only minor effects on reducing “charity care”. (Some states are even refusing the Medicaid changes because it allows too much federal control.) More importantly, “charity care” will not be reduced, simply the reimbursements. Hospitals will have to find a way to compensate for the losses, most probably with staff reductions. Insurance premiums are “sky-high”; insurance companies are bloodsuckers; that needs to be addressed. FYI: my organization helps all those people in need that you are talking about; so if I am heartless, I am in the wrong profession. My problem is with those that take advantage of the system. Government involvement is the major problem; they add new dimension to incompetence when running any program. (Two out of the last three times that I went to the DMV, the computer systems were down and everyone was told to come back another day.) Note: Sally’s comments regarding Pascack Valley Hosp. are her opinion and may be valid from her experience. It does not change the fact the fiscal ineptitude drove the hospital under and created a health care vacuum for towns in upper Bergen County.
William Mays August 20, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Affordable healthcare is not socialism. I agree with you that people who don't want to work should not receive food stamps or welfare. What do you suggest we do with illegal immigrants when they get into hospitals? Let them die?
Howard L. Pearl August 20, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Affordable health care is not free health care. We all want a system that works; the current one is badly broken. As for what to do with "illegal immigrants" who need health care, my suggestion is that they be required to pay something, so they understand that there are costs involved. If major health care is required, our tax dollars should not be covering it. I heard of one hospital that found an interesting solution for an individual who was over 65 who needed nursing home care. The hospital supposedly paid air fare to fly him back to his native country so his relatives could care for him. Humane and effective.
Glenn M. Muller August 21, 2012 at 03:01 AM
They fought hard to keep HUMC-North from opening. Karma is catching up with them.

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