PeaceHealth files layoff notice ahead of Oregon hospital closure

Vancouver, Wash.-based PeaceHealth has notified state officials about layoffs associated with the closure of its Sacred Heart Medical Center University District hospital campus in Eugene, Ore.

"PeaceHealth will begin consolidating services at the [Sacred Heart Medical Center] RiverBend campus in Springfield, [Ore.], and will experience a reduction in our workforce through this process that will occur throughout the next few months," Justin Thomas, senior director for human resources in the PeaceHealth Oregon network, wrote in a WARN notice filed Oct. 19 with the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission's Office of Community Colleges and Workforce Development. "We expect some aspects of that campus to be completely closed by Feb. 1, 2024."

PeaceHealth told state officials there are currently 463 caregivers on the University District hospital campus, and the health system is looking to have opportunities for roughly 325 caregivers, displacing 129. 

"However, some of those individuals may not choose to come work at the RiverBend hospital. We do have a severance policy in place for those that will be affected by this layoff," Mr. Thomas said.

PeaceHealth also told state officials in the notice that it notified staff in August of these changes and recently received notice from Oregon officials that it can close the first department, the emergency department, on Dec. 1. The health system noted that most of these caregivers will have positions available at the RiverBend hospital. 

"However, per the request from the [Service Employees International Union], we are considering this a lay off for those caregivers and not a reorganization, so I will be providing them notice, knowing that a large portion will still be coming to the RiverBend hospital," said Mr. Thomas.

PeaceHealth officials also shared the following statement with Becker's: "PeaceHealth is negotiating with the many different unions that represent staff at Sacred Heart Medical Center, University District. We anticipate the vast majority of our University District caregivers will transition to roles at other PeaceHealth locations."

In August, PeaceHealth shared plans to close the "underutilized" University District campus and shift services to the RiverBend campus. The plans also include relocating an urgent care to a medical office building on the University District campus to maintain access to care for those who live in the area.

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