Catholic Medical Center lays off 71

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Catholic Medical Center is going through more belt-tightening due to COVID-19-related revenue losses. File Photo

MANCHESTER, NH – Anticipating a $40 million loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic Medical Center announced layoffs Wednesday.

“The toll of this pandemic is significant and we regret the impact it has had on our talented and dedicated employees,” said Lauren Collins-Cline, the hospital’s director of communication.

Collins-Cline said that the hospital furloughed hundreds of employees in April as the pandemic forced the hospital to stop all non-essential services. These services, like elective surgeries, bring in revenue many facilities need to survive.

“It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has been financially devastating to many hospitals across the country and in New Hampshire,” Collins-Cline said.

As the hospital has been bringing the furloughed employees back, Collin-Cline said the financial realties mounted, and the hospital expects to lose $40 million this final year.

Collins-Cline said most of the impacted employees had already been furloughed. The layoffs won’t be the only belt-tightening that impacts employees, according to Collins-Cline.  The hospital is freezing hiring non-essential open positions and it is reducing hours for 40 other positions.

“We’re implementing efficiencies across the system as we work to rebuild patient volume and stabilize the financial implications COVID-19,” Collins-Cline said.

Some of the laid-off positions are doctors, but most of the staff cuts are impacting support positions such as physical therapists, pharmacists, patient transporters and staff carpenters.

Gov. Chris Sununu secured $25 million in CARES Act relief funding for New Hampshire hospitals this year, and total state and federal grants have brought in $260 million for New Hampshire Hospitals.

That funding hasn’t been enough as according to an NHPR story, New Hampshire Hospital Association’s Steve Ahnen told legislators this month that New Hampshire hospitals have lost $530 million since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sununu’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.