2011-10-28 / Top Stories

PHC Pink Slips Hit Over Weekend

50 First To Go In Downsizing
By Howard Schwach

In August, residents and staff picket in front of the hospital. In August, residents and staff picket in front of the hospital. The word spread quickly throughout the Rockaway peninsula, wherever employees of the Peninsula Hospital Center reside.

Check the mail. The layoffs are beginning and the pink slips are in the mail.

By Monday, most of those 50 who were hit by the first wave of layoff notices knew just who was involved, who no longer had a job at the troubled hospital center.

Mary Kampa, a union delegate and nurse, told the Daily News that she was one of those who got the 30-day notice letter and will be laid off.

“A lot of us gave up most of our summer and fought to keep the hospital open,” she told News reporter Irving DeJohn. “For this to happen, it’s just devastating.”

The hospital was slated to close during the summer, but residents, hospital staff and the facility’s local board fought hard to find a white knight to keep the hospital open.

That white knight came in the form of Revival Home Health Care, the corporation that took over the hospital from MediSys Health Systems.

Revival has since put the hospital into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to restructure the hospital’s $60 million debt and keep it open.

PHC CEO Todd Miller told the News that he was moving the hospital towards success and that the layoffs are part of that overall plan.

“All along, we said that we were probably going to need downsizing before we could increase staffing,” Miller told DeJohn. “As quickly as we can bring workers back, we will. We needed to buy ourselves some breathing room,”

A spokesperson for the hospital union said that he understood that the layoffs were “for the greater good” of the institution, adding that the union had safety nets such as job placement and extended benefits that will serve those who are laid off.

“This is a lot like breaking up a family,” said one PHC staffer who asked not to be identified because she did not get a pink slip. “We knew that the layoffs were coming, but that doesn’t make it any easier to take for those who received them.”

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