Wilkes-Barre General Hospital lays off, reduces hours for employees

Some employees at Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) General Hospital were laid off and others saw their hours reduced as part of a move to align staffing with patient volumes, according to The Citizen's Voice.

Renita Fennick, a hospital spokesperson, did not specify how many or what types of employees are being laid off. However, the layoffs and reductions in hours will not affect registered nurses, according to Bill Cruice, executive director of Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, the union that represents the registered nurses at the hospital, according to the report.

"Commonwealth Health Wilkes-Barre General Hospital has implemented staffing changes to serve the volume of patients in our care," Ms. Fennick said in an emailed statement. "Patients and physicians can continue to expect the same high quality care at our hospital. We have carefully considered these decisions to ensure we will not compromise patient care quality or safety."

Wilkes-Barre General Hospital is part of the six-hospital Commonwealth Health system, which is owned by financially struggling Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems. CHS CEO Wayne Smith announced Wednesday the hospital chain would sell 17 hospitals and other assets to trim debt. CHS' debt load is about $15 billion, and selling the 17 hospitals is expected to generate $1.2 billion in working capital.

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