California hospital employees protest layoffs during board meeting

Employees at Ventura (Calif.) County Medical Center rallied June 4 to protest layoffs they say will put patient care and safety at risk, according to the Ventura County Star.

The employees protested during a Ventura County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The Ventura County Health Care Agency, a California-based system of hospital, clinic and specialty services, said last month that it plans to lay off 79 regular full-time employees in July amid a projected $18.8 million loss for this fiscal year. The agency also plans to suspend about 100 positions filled by per diem and temporary employees, as well as demote or transfer other workers.

The layoffs and employment changes will affect workers at Ventura County Medical Center and Santa Paula (Calif.) Hospital, including nurses. They will also affect some employees in public health and agency administration.

One of the affected workers, Nicole Perez, a registered nurse at Santa Paula Hospital, told the county board of supervisors she is concerned about how the cuts will affect the community and the planned shutdown of Santa Paula Hospital's obstetrics unit on June 30, according to the Star.

"The decrease in staffing will directly affect patient safety and care," she said.

Other employees reportedly made similar remarks and asked that the cuts be re-evaluated.

According to the Star, Ventura County Health Care Agency Director Bill Foley told the county board of supervisors that new financial information has prompted the agency to look again at some of the per diem cuts and estimated that the "staffing optimization" will save $13.4 million annually.

Read the full report here.


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