Dimensions Healthcare System representatives confirmed Monday that an additional 84 Laurel Regional Hospital employees have received pink slips that will take effect Nov. 7, marking a total of 118 layoffs since the hospital owners announced the facility's closure and transition into a $24 million ambulatory care center on July 31.
According to Dimensions spokeswoman Erika Murray, 53 full-time and 31 part-time employees of several in-patient care units were told Sept. 21 that they were to be laid off, joining the 35 employees who lost jobs in the hospital's maternal and child health unit, which is scheduled to close on Oct. 11.
"This is similar to what we did last month when we informed 35 employees, 23 full-time and 12 part-time," Murray said Tuesday afternoon. "Of [the maternal and child health unit employees], 17 individuals will find work within system and all will be retained."
Murray said that roughly 40 percent of the additional 84 layoffs will also find employment within the system.
The announcement follows the Prince George's County Council meeting last week, where the council acted as the Board of Health during a presentation by the Dimensions team and representatives of Kaufman Hall and Associates. County Councilwoman Mary Lehman, a Democrat who represents Laurel in District 1, has openly voiced her disapproval of the hospital's closure from the beginning.
"That is stunning for a hospital that has existed for more than 30 years," Lehman said at the meeting. "In my district, it is a lot of jobs. It means a lot to a lot of people. I'm aware of changes in the healthcare industry [and] I did not need a 20 to 30 minute presentation, personally, on that."
Laurel Mayor Craig Moe said he is saddened to hear about the continual job loss at Laurel Regional.
"The manner in which Dimensions Healthcare notified them is inexcusable," Moe said Tuesday afternoon. "I stand with northern Prince George's County residents and call on the Prince George's County Executive [Rushern Baker] and county council to stop this madness at Laurel Regional Hospital."
Moe said that he respectfully asks Baker and the council to "remove the Dimensions Healthcare leadership for their failed track record."
In a previous statement, Moe said that there are a lot of variables that could be "ironed out" if Dimensions sat down with state, local and city officials to discuss the options for the Laurel Regional's future.
"It would've been nice and it still would be nice to have community leaders, elected officials and members of the community be engaged with Dimensions," Moe said. "I think there are a lot of people who have a lot of different ideas and I think [Dimensions] should be listening to those ideas."
The facility needs to remain an acute care hospital, Moe added.
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"With the growth that's going on in this area and for them to do away with the beds, I just don't understand why they're doing all of this. I think there's only been bits and pieces that have been put out there."