By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hospital administrators look at long-term health
OVHD sign

It may equate to roughly only five percent of the total staff … but for the 28 employees losing their jobs at Oak Valley Hospital District, five percent is too much.

“These are painful but necessary cuts,” President and Chief Executive Officer Matt Heyn said regarding the layoffs, which were announced in early February.

Some took effect immediately, with some laid off senior management and supervisory personnel let go as of the Feb. 2 announcement of the pending changes at the hospital in Oakdale.

Those changes include closing the five-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and discontinuing the Family Support Network (FSN) Department, as well as the staff layoffs.

“We have no intention of closing down additional units,” Heyn added. “This is a long-term plan and something that we felt was necessary.”

The end goal, he said, is to make sure the hospital remains a viable option for health care services in the local area.

Chief Operating Officer David Rodrigues added that making cuts to the staff was an incredibly difficult decision.

“One of the first things we need to note is how wonderful our staff is here,” Rodrigues said.

The ICU was given a 90-day notice of closure so that department is scheduled to operate through May 2 and has 11 employees that will be affected; six full-time and five part-time/per diem staffers.

Family Support Network will operate through the last Friday of March. Eight employees will be impacted by the closure of that program, two full-time and six part-time/per diem employees.

The rest of the 28 staffers impacted are in the management and supervisory units.

“All of us that are left have to take on additional duties,” Heyn said.

He added that they hope to be able to place some of the employees in other currently open positions elsewhere in the facility.

“We have several RN positions open,” Heyn explained, adding that ideally, they would like to see some of the ICU nurses transition to the ER department. That way, positions can be filled and staff can be retained.

Oak Valley at one point was managed by Catholic Healthcare West but Rodrigues said when that contract ran its course, it was not renewed.

Rodrigues has been with Oak Valley Hospital District for 25 years; Heyn took over as CEO in August of 2023, moving here from Colorado.

“We’re an independent district hospital with no corporate affiliation,” Heyn said.

The hospital also has a publicly elected five-member board, currently led by President Dan Cummins, Vice President Jim Teter and board members Dr. Edward Chock, Fran Krieger and Louise Sanders.

The board meets the first Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the Medical Office Building, first floor meeting rooms at 1425 W. H St., Oakdale.

Along with the hospital emergency room and 24 acute care beds, the district offers several inpatient and outpatient services and operates the 115-bed skilled nursing facility, Oakdale Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, ONRC. Heyn and Rodrigues said all those are key components for the community and district officials and the board are committed to keeping them operational long term.

“As we look ahead, it is paramount that the hospital board and administration are committed to maintaining open communication,” Heyn said of keeping staff members and the community informed. “It’s a commitment on our part, to remain transparent.”

He also stressed how important it is for community residents to support the facility as well.

“We need to rally the community,” Heyn said. “Use our community hospital going forward; that would be my resounding message to the community.”