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Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Ogdensburg. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

OGDENSBURG — Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center announced Friday that effective immediately, it will be eliminating about 34 positions at the hospital.

The hospital made every effort to limit the number of individuals impacted by these changes, a prepared statement from the hospital reads. This was done by reassigning employees when possible and not filling open positions. Through these efforts, the hospital was able to reduce the number of affected employees by roughly 4 percent of the 850-member workforce. Affected employees will be provided with severance and outplacement assistance.

“Like many health care providers across our region, Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center is experiencing continued financial stress due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the statement reads.

The hospital attributes its prolonged financial struggles to the lack of elective surgeries, screenings and other procedures during the state’s PAUSE order, which created an “economic ripple effect felt throughout the organization.”

The state and federal stimulus packages the hospital received have not been enough to offset losses in revenue due to the pandemic, the hospital’s statement reads.

“Our volumes have not yet recovered to the point where we can sustain the healthcare system we had before the onset of the pandemic,” said Richard A. Duvall, CEO and president of Claxton-Hepburn.

The staffing changes are being made in various areas of the hospital, the statement reads, and will not have a significant impact on any particular department.

Claxton-Hepburn will maintain all services, and there have been no reductions in bedside nursing.

“While we have worked hard to limit the scope of this reduction, even one job lost is too many, and we regret this action has become necessary,” Mr. Duvall said. “Claxton is one of the largest employers in the area, and we will remain a driving force. Our focus will continue to be on serving the healthcare needs of the North Country as we rise to meet the fiscal challenges presented to us.”

Mr. Duvall said the hospital is making every effort to retain employees by offering them modified positions, or finding them available positions at Claxton-Hepburn’s affiliate partners, River Hospital and Carthage Area Hospital.

“Staff reductions are always the last resort. These employees have served our patients and us with dignity and respect, and we hope to offer the same courtesy to them during this difficult time,” he said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Assistant Managing Editor

Sydney is the assistant managing editor for the Watertown Daily Times. She handles all things photo, video and digital content related. Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she has made the north country her home away from home.

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