Carthage Area Hospital, pictured, Meadowbrook Terrace Assisted Living in Carthage and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center in Ogdensburg are each facing workforce cuts of up to 4%. Watertown Daily Times

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Carthage Area Hospital and Meadowbrook Terrace Assisted Living are cutting up to 4% of the workforce at each institution.

A joint news release from the two hospitals cites “decreasing patient volumes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, changing demographics, and an evolving market” as the reason for the cuts.

The reduction is the first in the workforce since 2015 for CHMC and 2014 for CAH, the release said.

The health care organizations say the reductions will not disrupt services.

In the coming months, both hospitals “are focused on the continued evaluation of their financial situations to ensure long-term viability and success,” the release said.

“At the start of the pandemic in 2020, we furloughed some of our workforces and offered early retirement to others. The continued erosion of revenue caused by the pandemic and other factors place us in a challenging position,” Richard Duvall, president and CEO of CAH and CHMC, said in a prepared statement. “It’s a time for difficult decisions to keep these hospitals in their local communities. We are not the only health care institutions dealing with these issues or reductions, but we want to be transparent that we are doing all we can to stop further impacts on our workforce.”

“This decision is not made easily, nor taken lightly,” Duvall said in his statement. “Every effort to increase revenues and reduce costs by any other means has been exhausted. CHMC and CAH have taken deliberate approaches to examine solutions that balance employee benefits and the financial health of the organizations. We have created cooperative programs, shared staff, and cut back on spending. Employee cuts are a final resort, and one that we know will impact the lives and families of dedicated employees that serve our communities.”

“We need to meet the needs of those we serve, and they have different needs than they have had in the past,” Duvall added. “Both Claxton-Hepburn and Carthage are willing to adapt to the market needs and accommodate what patients want in their health care.”

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