Ada hospital to layoff employees

Thursday, October 30th 2008, 6:51 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

ADA, Okla.-- Valley View hospital in Ada announced Thursday it's laying off over 100 employees.

The hospital's CEO said he had to make the tough decision after going over hospital expenses and outstanding debts.

Like many small hospitals across the country, Valley View hospital in Ada has fallen on hard times.

"Reimbursements are going down, there are delays in payments from Medicare, insurance companies are paying us differently than they used to," said Valley View Hospital CEO Ron Webb.

Patient debt is growing as the economy weakens.

"Of our net patient revenue, 21 percent is bad debt," Webb said. "That is very significant."

Because overall revenue is down and expenses are up, Webb said he had no other choice.

"I had to determine that we had to reduce by 127 positions," Webb said.

The cuts are across the board, but mostly in administration and support positions. Employees won't know their specific fate until Friday, but it doesn't stop them from speculating.

"I know I'm going to go because I was one of the last people to get hired," employee Stephanie Easton said.

The layoff announcement put employees in a panic.

"I think they're just bracing for the impact of the whole thing," Easton said.

Some employees said they're already looking for another job or have one lined up, but in a small town finding an open medical position may be hard.

"We are working closely with employers in town and the region to try to help the people that will displaced to find jobs quickly," Webb said.

It is little comfort to those who call Valley View their second home.

"It's devastating because of the loss of friends and companions," employee Becky Stark said. "People I've come to love."

The CEO said they are not laying off any of the nursing staff and that patient care would not be affected.

State representative Todd Thomsen of Ada said he plans to help the affected workers.