Layoffs at Privatized NJ Catholic Hospital

The Bergen County Record reports that St. Mary’s hospital is laying off 20 nurses and techs, members of JNESO, a regional healthcare union affiliated with the IUOE (International Union of Operating Engineers). The Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth established the Passaic NJ hospital more than a century ago, but in recent years it had struggled financially, paving the way for a sale. The controversial corporate hospital chain Prime Healthcare acquired ownership in 2015. Prime committed to honor the Ethical and Religious Directives guiding Catholic healthcare as a condition of the sale. As the Record reported:

News of the cuts comes during National Nurses Week, the largest event recognizing nurses and their contribution to health care. “It’s kind of like saying, ‘Thank you, you’re fired,’ ” said Doug Placa, executive director of JNESO District Council 1, the union representing more than 400 nurses and technicians at St. Mary’s.

The hospital blamed the state of New Jersey, saying that the state had reduced its support for the hospital’s Charity Care provided to the poor and uninsured.

(Hmm — I always thought when hospitals reported “charity care” on their balance sheets it was because they were providing care to the poor without payment, not that they were getting paid by the taxpayers. I guess at least at Prime that’s not the way it works.)