Last month Covenant Health Systems layed off 159 employees, and now NewsChannel 11 has learned that a second wave of layoffs is on the way. Sources say as many as 100 additional employees will be layed off within the next week. That will bring the total number of layoffs to 259, the exact number NewsChannel 11 was first to report back in November.
Covenant Spokesman Eddie Owens says another round of pink slips will be handed out within the next week, but the hospital is not sure exactly when or how many. He says Covenant is not trying to hide anything, they just don't know anything. The hospital says these layoffs, like December's, will most likely not affect patient care workers.
December's layoffs included administrative, clerical and other non-patient workers. Covenant is in the process of cutting $40 million out of its current expense budget, mainly because reimbursements from programs like Medicare and Medicaid are not making up for the actual costs of medical procedures.
Covenant initially tried to get by with cutting back on expenses like equipment and supplies, but soon realized it would have to cut employees to balance its budget. We talked with several Covenant employees who are anxious and unsure about their futures with the hospital. Many feel the hospital is not handling the layoffs with enough sensitivity, but Covenant says its doing everything it can to be up front and honest.