Lake Charles Memorial Health System, the largest health care system in the Lake Charles area, laid off 205 employees recently as the result of damages sustained from Hurricane Laura.
Hospital officials notified the Louisiana Workforce Commission of the layoff via a Workforce Adjustment and Training Notification Act letter dated Sept. 28. The permanent layoffs were employees at the Moss Memorial Health Clinic and Archer Institute, both of which suffered damage from the hurricane, and other areas.
Archer, a 42-bed facility that specializes in substance abuse and mental health patients, is closed after one of the building’s walls collapsed. That building could remain closed for 12 months, hospital spokesperson Matt Felder said.
Moss, which serves uninsured, Medicaid, Medicare and commercially insured patients, also had significant damage from the storm, he said.
Hospital officials also had to evacuate 146 patients when it lost access to the city's water system immediately after the storm.
“It will take many months to get all of our facilities completely repaired,” hospital officials said in a statement. “We have no choice but to adjust our basic staffing to meet the current demand of the health system.
“In the short term, we feel that reprioritizing the organization’s goals and consolidating some jobs may help facilitate faster recovery and greater efficiency for the long term viability of the health system. It is our hope that this will allow us to refocus and strengthen our positioning in key service areas to better serve the post-storm community demographics.”
The 205 employees makes up 8% of the pre-hurricane workforce, Felder said. The layoffs came from various departments will include 24 licensed practical nurse positions, 16 psych technicians, 15 staff nurses and 11 patient access representatives.
Seniority will be considered as the hospital recalls displaced employees along with other qualifications.
“As we work to recover and heal, we will continue to ramp up our services and it is our hope that we can bring back as much of our team as possible in the future,” hospital officials said.
Staff writer Kristen Mosbrucker contributed to this report.
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