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HOSPITAL SETS A NEW ROUND OF DISMISSALS LAYOFFS DUE JULY 12 AT MOUNT ST. MARY'S

Mount St. Mary's Hospital will lay off the equivalent of 25 full-time employees on July 12 and will delay its $7.5 million renovation and expansion project for a year, because of continuing operating losses.

The layoff will affect 40 employees in management, clerical, professional and technical support staff positions, and it is in addition to a layoff of the same magnitude which took place in April.

Public Relations Manager Ann Heuer said the new layoff was announced Thursday at the 179-bed hospital at 5300 Military Road.

"These actions are necessary to eliminate continuing operating losses," Ms. Heuer said. "Mount St. Mary's Hospital suffered a loss of $460,000 in 1989 and has incurred continuing losses thus far into 1990.

"The $7.5 million renovation and expansion project scheduled to begin in 1990 has been delayed until 1991. . . . The funds raised during the 25th Anniversary Campaign are being retained to support the project," she said.

Hospital Administrator Richard B. Russell announced a "cost-containment policy aimed at reducing operating expenses" when the 1989 operating loss was reported in April. That policy included a reduction of staff through attrition and retirement, and the first round of layoffs.

He said then that the staff reductions would "cut across the majority of departments (but) no registered nurses are affected." Before the layoffs, Mount St. Mary's each year employed about 900 people in the care of some 5,000 persons classified as inpatients.

Ms. Heuer said many of the positions affected by the July 12 layoff "are the result of reorganization and consolidation of functions within departments for more efficient operations."

She repeated Russell's earlier report that Mount St. Mary's losses are the result of conditions that are plaguing all hospitals in New York State:

Inadequate reimbursement rates set by third party payors such as Blue Cross, Blue Shield, Medicare and Medicaid.

Increase in the average length of patient stay, as hospitals care for patients longer because there are not enough nursing home beds.

An increase in salaries and operating expenses."

Mount St. Mary's operating loss last year was its first since 1982. The hospital had surpluses of $564,000 in 1988 and $712,000 in 1987.

The $7.5 million building construction and renovation project, which has been put on hold for a year was intended to reduce crowding and to provide for additional outpatient services, which have more than tripled since 1980.

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