Falling patient numbers lead Finger Lakes Health to terminate 20 employees at area hospitals

Following the Governor’s decision to allow hospitals to start visitation of patients, Finger Lakes Health will resume hospital visitation at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital and Geneva General starting this week, pending approval by N.Y.S. Department of Health (DOH). Details will be available on the Finger Lakes Health website, www.flhealth.org. 

Hours of visitation will be in accordance with the prescribed New York State guidelines and therefore limited to four hours from 3 to 7 P.M. at both hospitals. Visitors will be limited to one at a time per patient. The new visitation policy will include other DOH specifications: 

• All visitors will be screened and must sign-in upon entry and exit, 

• All visitors must wear a mask

• All visitors must stay within the room of the patient they are visiting.

Workforce reduction

Nationally and regionally, the healthcare industry continues to face on-going pressures of reimbursement not keeping pace with costs, changes in patterns from inpatient to outpatient care, unfunded regulatory mandates, and external market pressures. There have also been recent reductions to N.Y.S. programs and reimbursement. Finger Lakes Health has not been immune to these circumstances.

“COVID-19 resulted in canceled surgeries, preparing for a surge of patients (which thankfully we did not see), shutting down specific revenue generating programs, reduced volumes in acute care, long term care, physician offices, emergency department and urgent care,” says  Lara Turbide, Vice President, Community Services and Executive Director, Finger Lakes Health Foundation. 

“Simultaneously, we are facing increased costs for mandates such as long term care employee testing and escalating personal protective equipment (PPE) costs,” says Turbide. 

“While we had anticipated that we would see some of this volume return, unfortunately, this has not been our experience to date.”

According to Turbide, the majority of FLH’s operating costs are labor and workforce; generally around 64%. But recently, that portion for staff has risen to 75%. 

“Which has resulted in Finger Lakes Health furloughing employees and now undertaking a regrettable, yet necessary, reduction in workforce, which will impact approximately 20 employees, says Turbide. 

“The changes will occur with notifications of impacted employees between now and June 24. Positions were reviewed based on changes in service demand and service lines. As a mission-driven, not-for-profit, we focused on core mission activities and stewardship of resources for future sustainability.”