Steward Florida hospital cuts staff, services

Miami-based North Shore Medical Center, part of Dallas-based Steward Health Care, has started conducting layoffs as part of cuts to some of its programs amid the health system's continued financial struggles. 

NSMC has laid off around 152 employees who are part of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, a healthcare union that represents more than 500 employees at NSMC, a spokesperson for the union told Becker's

The hospital has more than 700 employees in addition to 400-plus medical staff, according to its website.

The affected employees received a letter, obtained by the Miami Times, from Steward in January that detailed NSMC would be shuttering its neonatal intensive care unit, obstetrics unit and behavioral health unit.

While around 152 people represented by 1199SEIU were laid off, the union spokesperson told Becker's that that number could be higher, as their members do not represent every employee at NSMC. 

"The abrupt closing of the Psych and Women's Services departments at Steward Health Care-owned North Shore Medical Center puts our patients and community at risk," the union spokesperson said in a statement shared with Becker's. "It also creates a real hardship for many committed caregivers who need these jobs to support their own families."

The letter detailed that the NICU and behavioral health units would close Feb. 9 and that the obstetrics unit would close March 10. 

"We could not continue to provide services for which we were not paid or for which we are chronically underpaid and maintain the hospital's other vital services to the community," a spokesperson for Steward said in a statement shared with Becker's regarding the behavioral health unit.

However, the obstetrics unit closed earlier than planned on Feb. 14 due to staffing shortages. 

"This early transition was caused by a few factors including staffing level challenges and adjustments to our overall business plans," the Steward spokesperson said regarding the obstetrics closures. "There are no plans to reduce any other services at NSMC. The impacted employees were offered the opportunity to apply for open positions at North Shore or any other Steward hospital."

News of NSMC's layoffs and unit closures come as some of Steward's eight Florida hospitals have faced lawsuits over claims regarding unpaid bills and hospital bat infestation removal. 

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