Ascension notified the state in a letter dated Jan. 17 that 68 jobs will be affected by its decision to end maternity care at its St. Vincent’s Riverside hospital.
The affected jobs comprise 62 registered nurses, with 28 in labor and delivery, 14 in the neonatal intensive care unit and other associated nursing positions along with six other positions.
“The decision to cease maternity care at the 1 Shircliff Way location was made in response to the evolving health care needs of the community,” said the letter to the state.
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification said the employee separations are expected to start during a 14-day period starting March 19. It said employees would be notified Jan. 18.
“We expect the cessation of maternity care at Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside to be permanent,” said the letter, signed by Stephanie Ryan, Ascension chief HR executive for Florida and the Gulf Coast.
It said maternity care will be centralized at nearby Ascension facilities.
“Our hope is that our employees will apply for other open positions within Ascension,” it said.
If they do not secure another position with the health care system, they will be eligible to receive severance based on the terms of the Ascension Severance Benefit Plan.
Ascension St. Vincent’s announced Jan. 18 it will end maternity care at the Riverside hospital starting March 19 while continuing to provide it at Ascension St. Vincent’s Southside and Ascension St. Vincent’s Clay County.
“Concentrating obstetrical and neonatal services at the two hospitals on the Southside and in Clay County will help ensure these sites of care will continue to fully meet the broader needs of our community,” said the news release.
It said the health system is contacting patients individually “to ensure personalized, seamless continuity of care at other area facilities, in consultation with their doctors.”
That includes the option to deliver at Ascension St. Vincent’s Southside or Ascension St. Vincent’s Clay County.
It said plans are in place to work with employees to determine potential opportunities for open positions within Ascension St. Vincent’s.
“This transition is the result of declining maternity patient volumes at Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside and the increasing availability of alternative sites for this same care in the region,” said the release.
“Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside continues to lead the way in key clinical offerings, including heart care, neurosurgery and critical care.”
According to Floridajobs.org, the WARN Act requires employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. The notice must be provided to either affected workers or their representatives, to the State Rapid Response Coordinator and to the chief elected official of the local government in which the employment site is located.
In general, employers are covered by the WARN Act if they have 100 or more employees, not counting employees who have worked less than six months in the last 12 months and not counting employees who work an average of less than 20 hours per week, the site says.
Private, for-profit employers and private, nonprofit employers are covered, as are public and quasi-public entities which operate in a commercial context and are separately organized from the regular government.
The site says regular federal, state and local government entities, which provide public services, are not covered.
Ascension’s letter was directed to the State Rapid Response Coordinator.