POINT PLEASANT — One of Mason County’s largest employers has announced it will be laying off some of its staff.
On Wednesday, Pleasant Valley Hospital released a statement, saying: “It is with a heavy heart that we must implement a reduction in force.”
The press release from PVH stated the hospital recently completed a thorough strategic planning process in order to react to the changing health care environment affecting hospitals across the nation. The release went on to say:
“This new strategic plan has been designed to provide PVH with the resources necessary to ensure the hospital’s long-term success as well as maintain its commitment to the community by providing excellent health care services.”
In order to carry out this plan, PVH will be implementing the layoffs. Exactly how many employees will be laid off and what departments will be impacted, won’t be officially known until PVH releases that information on April 5, according to Tracy Call, community relations spokesperson for PVH.
Mason County Commission President Rick Handley and Point Pleasant Mayor Brian Billings were two of several community leaders who were directly notified of the impending layoffs by PVH CEO Tom Schauer. Both Handley and Billings said Schauer personally called them on Tuesday about the situation which was released to the media on Wednesday.
“It’s a sad situation … it reminds me of the situation we’re in within the county,” Handley said, drawing parallels between the layoffs at PVH and the decrease in county revenue which recently forced county budget cuts. The county budget cuts did not translate into any layoffs in county offices though several outside agencies took major funding hits.
Handley said Schauer told him there would be severance packages offered to employees — how many and which employees will be offered these packages, was not known. Handley also said Schauer confirmed the hospital wanted to continue to provide the best care possible and remain a presence in the community.
“I hope they can recoup from this situation,” Handley said.
PVH’s press release went on to say:
“We recognize how valuable our staff is to the success of our hospital, and we do not take this action lightly. However, due to continued financial challenges caused by decreased reimbursement and utilization, in addition to rising costs and changes in federal and state regulations and requirements, we believe this is a necessary step in order to continue providing the best service and quality health care in the area.”
In addition to being one of the largest employers in Mason County, PVH has a significant presence in Point Pleasant and for Mayor Brian Billings, news of the layoffs was “disheartening.”
“This is going to affect a lot of people … these are quality care givers,” Billings said, adding he is not only a neighbor but a patient of PVH when he needs medical treatment.
Billings said even if some of the employees who will lose their jobs don’t live in Point Pleasant, those employees likely spend their money in Point Pleasant for lunch, gasoline and on other items which support the local economy.
“This will have a trickle down effect on not only individual families but our community in general,” Billings explained.