Will CVPH redesign lead to job cuts?

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6:36 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - The Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital is working on a redesign plan after taking a financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic but that has employees wondering what it means for their jobs. Our Kelly O'Brien reports.

Nurses I spoke with say they feel like they went from hero to zero hearing about the restructuring, but hospital officials say they are doing everything they can to not close down for good.

"It was very eye-opening," said Christina Perry, a former CVPH nurse.

We first introduced you to Perry in April when she went to New York City to work on the front lines in Manhattan at a hospital that desperately needed help.

"It was straight out of what people said it would be with the chaos. Really sick patients and a lot of people needed help," she said.

Perry was one of seven nurses to leave for the Big Apple. She was not approved for a leave of absence, so she had to quit her job at CVPH to do so.

After 10 weeks in Manhattan, there was no job for her when she got back.

"Technically I was approved to be rehired, however, in their financial state, I'm told that I can't right now," Perry said.

She found a per diem job for the time being and is considering traveling again to another hot spot area, but she’s hopeful she can go back to CVPH at some point.

“The techs, nurses, doctors there are my home,” Perry said.

COVID-19 left many hospitals facing economic hardship, including CVPH. The hospital says it was losing money even before COVID-19 hit, about $1 million a month.

Now, it's projected to have $47 million in lost revenues this fiscal year and the $30 million it received in state and federal funding isn't going to cut it.

The hospital says in order to secure its future, it needs to change the way it operates.

"It seems like as though what is happening is changing on a daily basis almost," Perry said.

Perry is not at the hospital, so she says it's hard to stay 100% up to date but she hears how her former co-workers are feeling.

"It sounds like things are a little unstable for some people and not knowing what will happen with their position," she said.

The hospital says it believes this redesign plan will allow a job for everyone who wants one, though they might be different jobs than before and maybe not the jobs some wanted.

Perry fears that adding more work to an already busy workload could affect what the hospital can offer.

"It takes away from patient care, it takes away from being able to sit with that patient and hold their hand for five minutes and spend that one-on-one time with them that a lot of times they desperately need," Perry said.

The hospital says it has about 700 employees in the New York State Workshare program and that it has already made cuts to salaries and benefits for leaders, physicians and managers but that still is not enough.

The hospital did not provide an exact number of how many jobs would be changing and how many people will be impacted by changes.

Click here to read the hospital’s full statement.

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