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Borgess Nurses concerned over possible layoffs

Borgess Nurses concerned over possible layoffs. (WWMT/Andrew Bisset)

A team of Borgess nurses were told their department was being eliminated and other nurses are concerned that layoffs may be on the way, but management at the hospital has yet to announce any cuts.

The latest word coming from a department head is that there may not be any cuts or at least not as many as initially thought.

In an emergency meeting scheduled for Thursday with the Michigan Nurses Association union, which represents nurses at Borgess Medical Center, will meet with management.

A Borgess nurse who didn’t want her identity revealed said, “It came down as 'we were over-budget.'”

She says any cutbacks would hurt patient care.

She said, "'How can manage more with less?' Is what we're being told, but we're already at that maximum capacity."

Several employees said they were planning to layoff nurses from several departments, including eliminating a department of more than a dozen nurses known as SWAT nurses. They are a special team of response nurses who bounce around the hospital wherever their help is needed whenever it is needed.

John Fisher, a Borgess patient, said, “They held me long enough to get to the Intensive Care Unit, where I spent the next three days.”

Fisher says the SWAT nurses saved his life after he was admitted for an upper respiratory infection a month ago.

Fisher said, “Had they not been there I would have died that afternoon.”

The Borgess nurses learned about the potential job cuts on the same day a $35 million plan was announced to expand the surgical suites at Borgress Medical Center

The nurse said, “To say you're over budget and have to eliminate positions and, on the exact same day come out with that? Huge slap on the face.”

We reached out to Ascension Health for a comment and received a statement saying:

We continually review staffing models, within the parameters of our collective bargaining agreements, to ensure efficiency of our resources, while providing the highest quality and most compassionate care. At this time, we have no information to share regarding personnel matters.

Dr. Robert Peters, a Western Michigan University professor who teaches healthcare policy, said hospitals all over the country are under pressure to make cutbacks because of changing costs of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements.

Peters said, “With the pressure to reduce costs as a result of insurance companies negotiating larger discounts on what they pay to hospitals and Medicaid and Medicare forcing down their reimbursements.”

St. Louis based Ascension Health

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