Workers at Missouri hospitals fired following company takeover

Workers at Audrain Community Hospital in Mexico, Mo., and Callaway Community Hospital in Fulton, Mo., were fired after a Texas-based company took over the facilities from Kansas City, Mo.-based Noble Health, Kaiser Health News reported Sept. 22.

Workers learned they were being fired in early September.

"This is to inform you that your current position … is being severed effective Friday Sept. 9," stated a Sept. 8 letter cited by Kaiser Health News.

The letter signed by Platinum also reads, "We are providing you this notice pursuant to the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act …. Your termination was not foreseeable, we are providing this notification with as much advanced notice as has proved practicable. This termination is permanent with no recourse. The medical facility will be shuttered."

The letter came after Noble Health acquired the hospitals during the pandemic and suspended all services March 25 to restructure operations. The hospitals later furloughed close to 200 employees. At the time, both hospitals cited challenges resulting from "unforeseeable business circumstances" and specifically pointed to longstanding problems with revenue cycle processes and electronic medical records. According to Kaiser Health News, Noble Health has also faced debt, lawsuits and federal investigations.

In April, Noble Health reached an agreement for Platinum Neighbors, which is affiliated with Platinum Team Management and Platinum Health Systems, to take over the two hospitals. Platinum has sought to reopen the hospitals and, in June, asked Missouri officials to extend a deadline to do so until Sept. 21, according to Kaiser Health News.

On Sept. 20, Platinum officials told the publication that, "on behalf of Noble," they asked for the extension "in an attempt to explore all alternatives for reopening these facilities," Ryann Gordon, Platinum's director of marketing, said. "The backpay and health benefits of the employees [are] of utmost importance."

Lisa Cox, a spokesperson for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, told the publication that around the Sept. 21 licensing deadline, the state agreed to grant Platinum's request for a 90-day variance. She said this allows Platinum to potentially change ownership during those 90 days.

Cory Countryman, president of Platinum Health Systems, confirmed the termination of the remaining workers to Kaiser Health News and told the publication, "We are working with multiple partners to reopen the hospitals."

To read the full Kaiser Health News report, click here

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