SANTA MARIA - Central Coast hospitals are scrambling to stay ahead of the changes that are coming with the impending roll out of the Affordable Care Act, or as many refer to it, Obamacare.
Local hospital administrators and consultants are taking a cold, hard look at changing a decades-old business model to improve efficiencies in staffing, services, facilities and other hospital operations.
Nurses and other hospital staff are likely to be transferred or moved to new units as part of what will be massive reorganization by the groups that run Central Coast hospitals.
When the dust settles, it may result in layoffs and elimination of some staff positions.
Sources tell Central Coast News layoff notices have been sent to union nurses at various hospitals.
A spokesperson for Dignity Health, which owns and operates Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and French Hospital in San Luis Obispo says it is trying to prevent job losses system-wide.
This is the statement from Dignity Health about the ongoing changes taking place:
"Dignity Health of the Central Coast hospitals, like many health care organizations throughout the nation, are moving towards the future health care delivery model. As we make difficult decisions, priority is always placed on maintaining quality, compassionate and safe patient care. We remain committed to serving the current and future health care needs of the community.
Dignity Health of the Central Coast has been reorganizing its health care delivery model to more efficiently meet the changing demands of the health care landscape while maintaining a patient-focused approach to delivering care. While some of these changes impact employment, many changes provide for more job opportunities and hiring additional staff.
Recruitment and retention of talented health care professionals is essential to meet the evolving focus of the new health care delivery model. Dignity Health on the Central Coast has experienced growth in perinatal, cardiology, orthopedics, cancer, general surgery, and acute rehabilitation, where many staff members have been added to support these services. We are continuing to expand outpatient and ambulatory services. We continue to invest in our employees, facilities, in new equipment and technology, and in electronic health records.
We value and respect all our employees, and when staffing adjustments are necessary, we work closely and collaboratively with those individuals to identify future opportunities locally and within the Dignity Health system.
Quality, safety and service results are at an all-time high for all three Dignity Health Central Coast hospitals.
Patient care is not and will not be affected by any changes. "
Other hospitals on the Central Coast facing the same challenges with the Affordable Care Act include Cottage Health Systems with its hospitals in Santa Barbara, Goleta and Santa Ynez and Tenet Healthcare with its Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo and Twin Cities Hospital in Templeton.
The Affordable Care Act, when fully enacted, will provide healthcare coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans presenting an unprecedented financial and human resource challenge to front-line healthcare providers like hospitals and healthcare professionals.
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