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Layoffs at Carthage, Ogdensburg hospitals blamed on inflation, drop in Covid patients

Published: May. 13, 2022 at 3:07 PM EDT
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OGDENSBURG, New York (WWNY) - There are layoffs happening at Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg and Carthage Area Hospital. Officials say they’re feeling the effects of inflation and a decrease in Covid hospitalizations.

“That obviously has made us, or brought us to a difficult decision, and we are forced to take some fiscally responsible action. We will be laying off 4% of our workforce at both Carthage and Claxton effective today,” said Richard Duvall, president & CEO, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center & Carthage Area Hospital.

He declined to say exactly how many people are affected by the layoffs. Duvall says that rising costs are hurting his facilities. On top of that, there is a decrease in the number of hospitalizations from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Due to inflationary prices, our costs have gone up by 30%. We are slated to have an increase in our reimbursement of 2.7%. Well clearly an increase of 30% cost and revenue only being up by 2.7%, that puts a financial impact on the facilities,” he said.

Duvall calls the decision a difficult one to make, but after looking at the numbers, it was one that they were forced to do so.

“We’ve been monitoring the situation over the last six months. But unfortunately the first quarter of this year, definitely volumes have been down, which has caused us to make this decision,” he said.

The layoffs are across all fields in the two hospitals, but will not affect any clinical care. The bulk of the cuts is in accounting or back-office positions. Duvall says a majority of the jobs lost were created during the pandemic due to increased volume at the medical centers.

“We evaluated all areas of the hospital and chose areas that would have the least impact on daily operations,” he said.

No additional cuts have been announced at this time, but with the continued rising costs of providing medical care, other challenges may be on the horizon.

“With the ever-evolving landscape of health care, new entrants into the market, national firms such as Amazon, CVS, Dollar General is discussing putting health clinics in their stores, the likelihood of potential other cost containment activities is high depending on how the market reacts to those other new entrants.”

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