California hospital to cut services, lay off staff

Oakdale, Calif.-based Oak Valley Hospital District is scaling back services and implementing layoffs to shore up its finances "amid ongoing challenges faced by rural hospitals." 

Oak Valley Hospital will close its five-bed intensive care unit, discontinue its family support network department and lay off 28 employees, including those in senior management and supervisor positions. The hospital district is also freezing certain, non-direct patient care job openings to reduce costs.

Oak Valley said in a Feb. 2 statement shared with Becker's that the "difficult decision … reflects the harsh reality faced by many healthcare providers in rural areas."

Rural hospitals across the country have been battling various challenges, including declining reimbursements, staffing shortages and rising costs, leading many to reduce services or workforces to shore up finances.

"These factors, compounded by the impact of the challenges from the pandemic, have created an unprecedented financial strain on healthcare facilities, particularly those serving rural communities," the hospital district said. "The decision to close the ICU and discontinue the family support network was made after careful consideration of both financial and operational factors. These changes are necessary to ensure the continued provision of essential healthcare while adapting to the current economic landscape."

The hospital district said it is working to ensure that affected employees can apply for positions in other departments.

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