ValleyCare announces cutbacks

WARREN — ValleyCare Health System of Ohio’s plan to lay off an unspecified number of employees could impact nurses at Northside Hospital, a union spokesperson said.

The health care system, owned by Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems Inc., did not say how many employees could be laid off or when, or which positions are to be cut.

Gabriel Pedreira, communications coordinator for the Ohio Nurses Association, emailed the following statement to the Tribune Chronicle Friday:

“The Ohio Nurses Association (ONA) was recently made aware of certain events at Northside Medical Center which may impact some of the nurses employed there. ONA is currently having discussions with the hospital’s management to determine what this may look like. ONA continues to be committed to advocating for its membership and working to ensure quality patient care continues in the Youngstown community.”

ValleyCare also includes Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren and Hillside Rehabilitation in Howland.

Plans also include cutting some employees’ hours.

In its own statement on the cutbacks, ValleyCare said:

“We recently made the difficult decision to furlough and reduce hours for some employees. Our hospitals regularly review and adjust staffing based on the number of patients in our care and their medical needs. We remain focused on carefully managing operations to support our commitment to provide high-quality healthcare services to our community.”

Tribune Chronicle attempts to reach local leaders of unions representing employees at ValleyCare facilities in the Mahoning Valley were unsuccessful on Friday.

However, Eric Williams, president of the Youngstown General Duty Nurses at Northside, told Tribune Chronicle news partner WKBN 27 that he was notified of the cuts and was in discussions with managers about the matter.

CHS recently said it was negotiating to sell 12 hospitals and other facilities, but did disclose which ones. Company leaders said they expected to complete the transactions this year. Earlier this month, the company reported a 9.6 percent drop in this year’s third-quarter operating revenues, at $4.38 billion, compared $4.85 billion in the same quarter in 2015.

In September, the company announced that, “with the assistance of advisors,” it was “exploring a variety of options with financial sponsors, as well as other potential alternatives.”

The statement continued, “The discussions are at a very preliminary stage and there is no timeline established for this review. There can be no certainty that the exploration will result in any kind of transaction. The Company does not expect to make further public comment regarding these matters while the exploration process takes place.”