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Published: Thursday, 12/4/2008

UT plans to shut geriatric psych unit; 37 jobs lost

BY JULIE M. McKINNON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The University of Toledo Medical Center is closing its 12-bed geriatric psychiatric unit as part of its overall effort to remain efficient in a troubled economy, a move that will eliminate 37 jobs throughout the medical center and lead to a yet-to-be-determined number of layoffs.

Employees were notified this week. Jobs will end for 17 nurses, patient care aides, and other personnel, Matt Lockwood, UT spokesman, said yesterday.

Scott Scarborough, UT's senior vice president for finance and administration, said the university no longer could afford to subsidize the money-losing unit at the former Medical College of Ohio.

Lower insurance reimbursements for patients overall, such as those covered by Medicaid and Medicare managed-care plans, have made it necessary to cut the geriatric psychiatric program, he said.

"It's one of those things we've always done from a mission standpoint," Mr. Scarborough said.

The unit will close after the five patients being treated there are transferred to other hospitals, Mr. Lockwood said.

Other UT Medical Center jobs being eliminated are scattered throughout the hospital, he said.

Overall, the actual number of people who will be laid off has yet to be determined since affected union employees could bump into other departments based on seniority, Mr. Lockwood said.

Timing for layoffs will range between two weeks and three to six months depending on the position and how the bumping process evolves, he said.

UT Medical Center employees last week received an e-mail telling them of impending layoffs and a hiring freeze.

The e-mail did not specify a layoff number, but UT officials said last week the figure could be between 12 and 50.



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