(STURGIS) – More changes are coming to Sturgis Hospital.
In a media release issued Thursday, Sturgis Hospital President and CEO Rob LaBarge says they have done a substantial amount of work over the past year to reduce costs and weather the changing landscape of health care. The old ways don't work for a small hospital any longer according to LaBarge, so he says it's time to restructure the operations in a way that is consistent with what they believe the future of health care will be for rural communities.
LaBarge says the Board of Directors and Management believe that under this plan, health care that the community needs will be more sustainable with Sturgis Hospital focusing on outpatient services.
Over the last 18 months, Sturgis Hospital has experienced significant financial challenges. To address this, the Hospital has closed non profitable departments including its Wound Clinic, Home Health, Pain Clinic and an urgent care center in Constantine.
Additional first level measures of the plan include: closing Hospice Services (Other Hospice providers can service Sturgis area patients); Reducing Inpatient Medical/Surgical Services (4 staffed inpatient beds will remain); Closing Obstetric Services (There are 3 hospitals within 30 minutes that have OB units); Adjusting the staffing and structure of the Emergency Department for current needs; and Closing The Oncology Treatment Center (Patients may return to receiving care at the West Michigan Cancer Center or another facility of their choice).
Implementation of the reorganization plan will begin on December 3, 2018. There will be two exceptions. The Sturgis Hospital Birthing Center will not be closing until Monday, December 31, and the Michiana Women's Center office will remain open for limited hours after December 31 for post-partum and post-op checks.
LaBarge says since the cost of wages and benefits accounts for over 50 percent of the total cost of the operation, layoffs are inevitable with the reductions that will happen. He says these operational changes will affect the equivalent of approximately 60 full time positions, but it could actually be fewer.
LaBarge says the Board and Administration are committed to taking these necessary steps and making further adjustments as required to transition Sturgis Hospital to an outpatient based health system and will assist in attracting a partner that will compliment the services offered in Sturgis.
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