Neugebauer blames Obamacare for Covenant layoffs

Published: Aug. 27, 2013 at 2:23 AM CDT|Updated: Dec. 15, 2014 at 3:20 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It was a sad day for Covenant employees who were handed their pink slips, but the hospital says it was something that had to be done.

"Covenant Health is financially stable, but the changes we've experienced thus far and will continue to undergo are the direct result of reduced reimbursements and our efforts to make affordable health care services available in our community going forward," said Richard Parks, executive vice president and CEO of Covenant Health.

This isn't the first time Covenant has laid off employees in recent years. In 2003, 159 employees were let go because of a drop in reimbursements. They laid off 45 in 2004, 91 workers and 11 management-level employees in 2008 and 48 in 2009, attributed to the economy.

Danny Soliz, director of business development at Workforce Solutions South Plains, says those employees may have work sooner rather than later.

"If they are laid off, what does my future hold for me is the question they have to answer on an individual basis. It's just a matter of them trying to determine what they really want to do. They very seldom lay off a lot of people because they do give them an opportunity to take another job within the system," he said.

We also reached out to Congressman Randy Neugebauer for his take on the matter. In an emailed response he said, "It's really unfortunate that Covenant Hospital has to reduce staff. Sadly, this is likely to happen at more and more hospitals under Obamacare. Meanwhile, other businesses are reducing full-time employees to avoid higher costs, and many families are seeing higher premiums. It's a disaster. We need to repeal it now before it creates any more problems."

Covenant has promised to extend assistance to employees who cannot find open positions within the organization. That includes severance packages for those who qualify and outplacement services to help those displaced find new positions.

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