Springs Memorial lays off 43

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By Johnathan Ryan

The local hospital is feeling the pinch of a slow local economy.

Springs Memorial Hospital laid off 43 employees across a number of departments Monday. Sixteen positions are eliminated through attrition, meaning the posts are not being filled after they are vacated.

The reduction in staff won't impact patient care, a news release from the hospital said.

"The economy in Lancaster County has experienced significant difficulties over the past year with plant closures and layoffs," said Tom McDougal Jr., chief executive officer at Springs Memorial. "With unemployment now exceeding 11 percent countywide, utilization of health-care services by our residents has decreased, which has made it necessary for us to adjust our workforce to match current patient volumes."

The county's largest health-care provider and only hospital must be in sound financial shape, McDougal said.

"As a sole community provider, we have an obligation to help ensure the stability and financial health of our organization, and that sometimes requires us to make difficult decisions," McDougal said. "This restructuring of our organization better prepares us to weather the challenges of what we hope will be a temporary economic downturn and will help position the hospital for continuing success going forward."

The decision came after the hospital leadership tried to minimize the number of people to be laid off, McDougal said.

"While these kinds of measures are needed, they are not easy for anyone involved," McDougal said. "The hospital worked diligently in the months preceding the reductions to use attrition and reassignment to minimize the number of employees impacted."

The hospital still has more than 800 full-time and part-time positions and is the second-largest employer in Lancaster County. It is owned by Community Health Systems of Nashville.

Contact reporter Johnathan Ryan jryan@thelancasternews.com at (803) 416-8416.