Centra Health Cuts Jobs & Changes Hours - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Centra Health Cuts Jobs & Changes Hours

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Centra Health announced job cuts and hour changes for hundreds of its employees in the Lynchburg region on Tuesday.

According to Centra spokeswoman Diane Riley, the health care provider will lay off 163 employees by Sept. 1 and reduce the hours of 141 other employees.

The cuts include the closure of two units at Virginia Baptist Hospital: The "Ford-5" unit will close by Sept. 1, and the "OPD" unit, which handles outpatient services, will close by the end of this year.

Riley told Fox 21/27 that patients handled by both units will receive care at Lynchburg General Hospital, and that hours for the OPD unit had already been reduced.

Centra blames a decline in patient volume, noting a 4-5 percent decrease in the most recent quarter versus the same time period in 2012.

Riley cited multiple reasons that Centra believes are behind the drop, including the state of the economy, overall shorter lengths of stays by patients at hospitals, reduced re-admissions of patients to hospitals, better efficiencies and processes, and people taking better care of themselves

As for the employees losing their jobs, Riley says Centra did not make the decision lightly, and the company plans to offer different severance packages, depending on the employee's job, as well as help with resumes. Riley added that should positions come open in the future, the employees who were laid off would be considered for the new jobs.