Englewood Hospital and Medical Center plans “far reaching” layoffs and the closure of two care units, according to the union representing nurses at the hospital.
“I have been notified by the [Medical Center] of their intent of a far reaching layoff that will affect many members,” said a message posted on the Health Professionals and Allied Employees website from Local 5004 President Michele McLaughlin.
The union message listed the units slated for closure by location or acronym, as 3NW and PCU. According to the medical center’s website, the units listed by the union correspond to the medical-renal unit and the progressive care unit.
"This layoff will be far reaching as there are minimal probationary employees as well as vacant positions," a union message said. "Therefore, those employees who are affected will have the ability to bump least senior nurses in all nursing units."
The number of employees impacted and when the layoffs would begin was not immediately clear.
“We will be meeting with the Medical Center to discuss among other issues, the legitimate business considerations for this layoff,” the union’s message said.
In a statement Saturday, medical center spokeswoman Maria Margiotta said the layoffs were "a difficult but necessary step to best position us for future challenges."
Margiotta could not confirm how many staffers would be impacted or in which units.
“In this challenging economic climate, all hospitals are experiencing dramatic changes. We all are facing the strain of the economic downturn, declining patient volumes, a rise in uninsured patients, inadequate funding for charity care, and decreasing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates," the hospital's statement said. "The prospect of adding a new acute-care hospital in Westwood in this environment is unnecessary and only adds to our challenge."
Hospital officials decided to cut clinical and non-clinical staffers, and official notice was given to union leadership this week, according to the statement.
"Be assured, this decision has been reviewed carefully to ensure that it does not impact our ability to continue delivering the safe, quality patient care for which we are recognized," the statement said. "This is the responsible decision for the long-term health of the Medical Center and for the communities we serve."
Englewood hospital officials had fought the opening of Hackensack University Medical Center's Pascack Valley branch in Westwood, saying the facility would duplicate services and hurt nearby hospitals.
Members plan to address the layoffs at meetings Thursday, the union's message said.
Englewood hospital is one of Bergen County's largest employers, according to the county economic development corporation.
Updated 8 p.m. Saturday