Mountain View Voice

News - September 10, 2010

Layoff notices sent to more nurses

by Nick Veronin

More nurses at El Camino Hospital have received notice that they "may lose employment," according to an official from the nurses' union.

Patricia Briggs, president of Professional Resource for Nurses, El Camino Hospital's nurses' union, said 29 additional nurses working at the hospital have received warning letters on Sept. 1 notifying them that they may be impacted. Previously, 47 union members had received such notices.

Diana Russell, chief clinical operations and chief nursing officer at the hospital, said the total reduction in force will remain the same. Additional warning letters have gone out, Russell said, because more nurses, from a wider swath of nursing units, are now subject to being cut.

At the same time that the additional notices were sent, nurses also received letters that give them the option to take voluntary termination, Russell said.

El Camino originally announced that it would be laying off about 140 full- and part-time employees on August 12. At that time the hospital issued notices to 195 of El Camino's 3,000 employees — from service workers all the way to administrators — informing them that they may be terminated within 60 days.

"A reduction in force is necessary so that our operational costs are aligned with patient revenues," an official press release said.

Chris Ernst, a hospital spokeswoman, said El Camino has done all it could to deal with a decline in patient revenues, which she attributed to the national recession, but that ultimately the layoffs were necessary. "To be a responsible community hospital you have to keep your resources in line with your current volume and revenue," Ernst said.

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