Lumberton’s Southeastern Health cutting 10% of staff

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Southeastern Health, a nonprofit health care system in Robeson County, is cutting 10% of its staff, or 236 positions, in response to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Southeastern has cut senior executive compensation, including a 46% reduction for President and CEO Joann Anderson, and is making unspecified adjustments to some employee health benefits. Her total compensation and other financial data about the system wasn’t disclosed in a press release.

Formerly known as Southeastern Health Medical Center, the health system is permanently closing two locations in Maxton and White Lake and transferring patients to other clinics, but plans to expand its telehealth services, according to the announcement. Southeastern says it is closing the neurosurgery clinic and transitioning care of those patients. It also plans to transition outpatient behavioral health services to other providers in the community and consolidate its outpatient physical and occupational therapy services.

Southeastern is eliminating 236 positions, which represents about 10% of its total workforce, including two vice presidents. The cuts will impact 147 employees because about 40% of the eliminated positions are vacant. Depending on their circumstances, affected employees will have the option to receive severance in the form of: a severance payment; extension of current employee benefits; pay out of one’s current PTO balance; and/or participation in a workforce retraining program.

Southeastern received an undisclosed amount of federal relief funds related to the coronavirus, but the money wasn’t sufficient to avoid the cost cutting, officials said.

Many U.S. hospitals are facing financial difficulty after suspending elective surgeries and other procedures to prepare for a surge in Covid-19 patients. Demand for health care services has declined in recent months.

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