Taylor Manor Hospital lays off 25 workers and closes intensive care unit

November 23, 1993|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Taylor Manor Hospital has laid off 25 employees and closed its intensive care unit in an effort to streamline patient services, the medical director said.

"We had a small reduction in force, and we've consolidated some patient units and streamlined patient care," said Dr. Bruce Taylor, a psychiatrist and medical director of the Ellicott City psychiatric hospital.

Employees in the nursing department, clinical and administrative services received termination notices between Nov. 10 and Nov. 12, Dr. Taylor said.

The employees received a termination package that included severance pay, holiday and sick pay, and other benefits, such as job retraining.

On Saturday the hospital held a job retraining and job search seminar for the laid-off workers, Dr. Taylor said.

The hospital closed its intensive care unit, which can accommodate 15 severely ill patients.

Those patients were transferred to other areas in the hospital, Dr. Taylor said.

"That unit was closed . . . to provide efficient care for patients," he said.

Staff members from that unit were transferred to other areas in the hospital, Dr. Taylor said.

The move marks the largest number of layoffs at the 86-year-old hospital, he said.

"Four to six people would have been a large number two to three years ago," Dr. Taylor said. "Our normal process would be to reduce the force through attrition, but we've not been able to wait for the attrition process."

Dr. Taylor said the cuts were prompted by a need to reduce hospital staff, and increase efficiency of patient services.

A January 1993 report from the state's Health Care Cost Review Commission showed that the hospital was in financial trouble from 1989 to 1991.

The hospital's occupancy rates dropped from 62 percent at the end of 1988 to 36 percent by Dec. 31, 1992, the report says.

The hospital also registered net losses from the end of 1989 until Dec. 31, 1991. In 1990, the hospital suffered its largest loss of $799,600, according to the report, and projected a $636,300 net profit by Dec. 31, 1992.

But the hospital posted a $215,000 net loss that year because of declining revenues and shorter patient stays, said executive vice president Morris Scherr.

Although admissions are up, patients are staying for only short periods of time, Mr. Scherr said. In an effort to boost admissions, hospital officials cut daily rates last fall for adult patients from $532 to $475. Daily rates for adolescent patients were slashed from $684 to $475.

"We were hopeful that a reduction in rates would increase the volume," Mr. Scherr said.

The hospital now employs about 190 people, said Dr. Taylor, who said he does not foresee any further staff cuts.

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