A major hit is coming to Oakdale, with staff layoffs and service reductions looming at Oak Valley Hospital.
In response to what officials termed the “ongoing challenges faced by rural hospitals” in California, Oak Valley Hospital District has announced strategic measures to address financial constraints and to ensure the long-term sustainability of the District.
In a statement released by the District and dated Feb. 2, it was announced that “The difficult decision to close the five-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU), discontinue the Family Support Network Department, and implement staff layoffs, including senior management, management, supervisors, and selected staff, reflects the harsh reality faced by many healthcare providers in rural areas.”
Also, said officials, the District is freezing specific, non-direct patient care job openings to reduce costs.
“It’s disheartening to hear about the service cuts and staff layoffs at Oak Valley Hospital District. This hospital has been a cornerstone of our community for so long, and the news understandably raises concerns about the impact on both the healthcare services available to residents and the livelihoods of those affected by the layoffs,” said Oakdale Mayor Cherilyn Bairos. “The Family Support Network, the Promotoras, in particular, have played a vital role in providing assistance and care to our community members. We hope that measures are in place to minimize the impact and ensure that essential services continue to be accessible to all who need.”
OVHD officials said that rural hospitals across California, including Oak Valley, have been grappling with a myriad of challenges, such as declining reimbursements and rising operational costs.
“These factors, compounded by the impact of the challenges from the pandemic, have created an unprecedented financial strain on healthcare facilities, particularly those serving rural communities,” the statement noted. “The decision to close the ICU and discontinue the Family Support Network was made after careful consideration of both financial and operational factors. These changes are necessary to ensure the continued provision of essential healthcare while adapting to the current economic landscape.”
The changes will impact 28 employees in total, added officials.
“We recognize the deep impact these changes have on our community, patients, and staff. These decisions were made after careful consideration to ensure the continuity of essential healthcare services in Oakdale,” said Matthew Heyn, President and Chief Executive Officer at Oak Valley Hospital District.
Heyn also indicated that the hospital is “working diligently” to ensure that affected employees have the ability to apply for positions in other departments.
The announcement did not give a specific date when the layoffs and program reductions will take effect.