Officials with the Tulare Regional Medical Center (TRMC) today confirmed rumors that TRMC and, by extension, its partner Healthcare Conglomerate Associates (HCCA) have laid off a small number of staff at the hospital. The news comes on the heels of a similarly timed, but otherwise unrelated lawsuit, alleging the hospital violated the California Public Records Act.
Talk began when Citizens for Hospital Accountability, the group behind the No on I campaign, posted a statement on Facebook early Friday morning.
“Unfortunately, we have heard from a few sources that layoffs of TRMC/HCCA employees have begun. We are incredibly saddened that quality employees, many with families to provide for, are being forced out of jobs,” the group said. “However, our sympathy also entails a more angry element– anger that these employees were let go while those in charge continue to have their greed satiated with such plush salaries.”
HCCA’s Vice-President of Marketing, Kathleen Johnson, confirmed that the allegations were accurate.
“The actions taken recently are in accordance with our planned and ongoing strategic realignment of the hospital’s operations. We continue to streamline operations, improve efficiencies and healthcare delivery to our community,” Johnson wrote.
Her statement did not confirm the number of staff laid off, but others have suggested the number is below 30. Johnson stated that the layoffs would not result in any hiring freezes, and that the hospital is “constantly evaluating areas where we can be more efficient and provide better service.”
“Over the last three years we have been focused on implementing our turnaround plan which brought the hospital from the brink of disaster and has resulted in dramatic operational and financial improvements,” she said.
“Nonetheless, until we complete the necessary improvements to the hospital tower, the hospital’s survival remains at risk. We all recognize that the new hospital tower is a necessary and critical element for the future viability and stability of the district and our capacity to provide the best healthcare that our community deserves.”
In its statement, Citizens for Hospital Accountability claims that the layoffs are proof that the hospital’s financial successes aren’t real — that “the ‘28 months of profitability’ were simply untrue.”
Johnson, however, says that the layoffs are necessary to ensure that the hospital has stable financial footing to continue its turnaround.
“Now that there is clarity from the community, HCCA will proceed with securing alternative financing to complete the tower. To be able to do so, we must ensure that the hospital remains operationally and financially successful,” Johnson said.