Cutbacks, Possible Layoffs Coming To Lenoir Memorial Hospital

Staff reductions are headed to another hospital in Eastern Carolina.

Lenoir Memorial Hospital says layoffs are possible if enough employees don't voluntarily retire early or leave the hospital's employment.

In a letter to hospital employees which was obtained by WITN News, hospital president Gary Black said losses for the current fiscal year could exceed $7 million. It is the fourth year in a row that the hospital has forecasted revenues that don't cover operating expenses.

Black told employees that during the past few months, their patient census has dropped to the point where immediate action needed to be taken.

In a news release, the hospital says it plans to trim hospital operations and "in essence reduce the size of the hospital." LMH says some services will be phased out, while others will be combined with the end result being a smaller, more efficient facility.

Employees with 20 years of service and 55 years or older will be offered early retirement.

LMH blames their financial troubles with the state's decision not to expand Medicaid, state cuts in Medicaid reimbursements, as well as federal Medicare payment cuts and federal cuts due to sequestration.
The hospital said any one of those would make their financial situation "tenuous, taken together they are devastating."

Last month, Vidant Pungo Hospital announced it was closing citing similar financial problems.