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Valley View layoffs jolt the region

Locations: News Published

With its recent and sweeping layoffs of 10 percent of its workforce — roughly 40 employees — Valley View Hospital (VVH) has impacted facilities up and down Highway 82. Roaring Fork Family Practice (RFFP), operated by VVH, is one.

Valley View Chief Executive Officer Dr. Brian Murphy explained, “Our financial future has changed dramatically related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is no end in sight for our response.” 

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Other cuts include the lowering by 10 percent of all executive salaries and reduction of non-essential services such as valet, childcare and community programs.

In addition, the COVID-19 supplemental pay at 100 percent  base salary ended as of May 16, the date previously specified.

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Murphy added, “Affected employees will be offered salary and benefit continuance to assist them as they transition to other opportunities. Members of our human resource team will meet individually with those affected.”

RFFP has been part of the Carbondale community since 1975 and later added an office at the Willits Care Center. Roaring Fork has a total staff of 11 medical providers plus support positions. 

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Although not specifying which positions were terminated,” Murphy emphasized, “Patient care has not been affected.” 

“We want to stress to the community how totally safe it is to come to Valley View. We have quite stringent screening protocols, and every single employee is included,” he added.

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Valley View Hospital, Murphy pointed out, has quite an extensive list of symptoms that are used in the screening process.

Presently, he said, “We have no COVID19 patients hospitalized here, and of the many people we’ve tested for the virus, 95 percent came back negative.”

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Valley View just published its cumulative COVID19 statistics as of May 19 noting reported numbers are from Valley View only and could change at any time.
Specimens collected thru Valley View: 1,235
• Positive results: 48
• Pending results: 40
• Patients admitted with COVID-19 since outbreak began: 16
• Admitted patients discharged: 13

Murphy is concerned that critically ill people are not coming to the emergency rooms, and that the hospital has seen a drop of 20 percent of people who need urgent care. He took over VVH leadership after a long stretch as a urologist at the hospital.

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Non-essential visits, like adult wellness checkups, have been postponed. Many mental health appointments are being handled via telemedicine, and the tool is also useful for following up or vetting symptoms before making an in-person appointment.
As Murphy reported, “Patient volumes are down across Valley View and it is unknown if, or when, patient volumes will return to historic levels. For 2020, we are projecting a $30 to $45 million reduction in income due to COVID-19.” He said, “We project additional losses of $13.5 million annually due to increases in Medicaid enrollment.”Concerning the future, Murphy said, ‘We are in a great unknown. And when we look ahead a few years, We don’t anticipate bringing eliminated positions back.” He concluded, “The list is too long to recognize the amazing work those redeployed employees have done over the last two months.  Suffice it to say, we could not have faced this pandemic like we’re doing without your work to support our amazing and heroic frontline direct patient care staff.”

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Changes coming to VVH

Community programming:
• End the Athletic Trainer program that provides athletic trainers to the three area
high schools.
• Conclude the HealthQuest wellness program for area businesses.
• Sunset the Connie Delaney Medical Library and other Valley View libraries.

Internal restructuring
• Reorganize the Performance Improvement, Quality and Clinic Operations departments.
• Restructure Integrated Therapies.
• Restructure the Youth Recovery Center to accommodate a lower census (six vs. ten) for continued physical distancing of those adolescents patients.
• Sunset Early Learning Center to close August 15, 2020.
Service changes
• Consolidate valet service to serve patients at the lower entrance.
• Adjust retail food service offerings to realize savings and come in line with market prices.
• Conclude 24/7 spiritual care coverage.

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