Mass layoffs follow purchase of beleaguered Alvarado Hospital

Less than two months after its purchase by Prime Healthcare Services, Alvarado Hospital announced it will lay off one-fourth of its staff effective March 13. The layoff will hit 249 employees throughout the hospital, including 91 nurses and 10 pharmacists, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

California-based Prime blamed the layoffs on a reorganization brought on by millions of dollars in lost state and federal funding--including a recently-lost contract to care for state prison inmates.

The California Nurses Association says it will closely monitor the impact and may take action. "CNA is going to resist or protest any cuts that reduce services or reduce the quality of services to the community," spokesperson Andrew Prediletto told a reporter. Prime came under investigation last year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and California's DOJ for unusually high rates of septicemia infections at its hospitals. Investigators want to learn whether the cause relates to widespread infection control lapses, or a scheme to overbill Medicare by millions of dollars.

Prime did deliver some good news, however, and said it will spend $25 million on upgrades and improvements, including an expansion of the emergency department.

For more information:
- check out this story in the San Diego Union Tribune
- read this CaliforniaWatch report on the septicemia infection investigation at Prime-owned hospitals