Secrets of the Job Hunt


Friday, September 26, 2008

100 Lost Healthcare Jobs Nothing to Be Concerned About

Despite losing 100 healthcare jobs in hospitals, the Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown metropolitan area of New York still had industry job growth in August, according to state Department of Labor's labor market analyst John Nelson.

Over the last year, the area has gained 500 jobs in the industry, when hospitals are excluded. Nelson believes that the 100 positions cut at local hospitals was "just a blip."

"You have to keep in mind that these surveys are sample-based estimates, so that 100 is not really a real factor," said Nelson. "You probably won’t find a company that laid off 100 people. There could be minor cutbacks, but nothing big."

The Times Herald-Record checked this by calling area hospitals to find out how many healthcare jobs they had cut, but all of those that returned the calls said that they did not layoff any employees during August. Rob Lee, a spokesman for the Orange Regional Medical Center, told reporters that the facility he represents is in the process of recruiting for 125 vacant positions.

Despite this, several hospitals have scaled back the number of individuals they employee recently. The Bon Secours Charity Health System, including St. Anthony Community Hospital of Warwick, Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis and Suffern's Good Samaritan Hospital, did away with 80 full-time positions during the month of July. St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital also did away 22 full-time positions during the month of May.

"Hospitals across the nation are struggling, and the climate in New York state is particularly challenging," said Judi Stokes, who is a spokesperson for St. Luke's. "New York state hospitals' operating margin are the second worst in the nation. While volatility in the economy certainly plays a role regarding increased costs for operations - such as utilities and supplies - the challenges are far greater and longer term."

According to Lee, the struggling economy could actually be partially to blame for the rising rates of illness. Stress can induce many health problems, but he says that he is not aware of the hospital he represents having an increased problem in patients not paying their bills.

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