PRMC Announces Job Cuts, Closing of Transitional Care Unit - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

PRMC Announces Job Cuts, Closing of Transitional Care Unit

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Peninsula Regional Medical Center (Photo: WBOC) Peninsula Regional Medical Center (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- Peninsula Regional Medical Center on Friday announced that it will be closing its transitional care unit, with 43 jobs cut.

Hospital officials said that when PRMC's TCU was opened in 1997, it was created to help fill a growing need for sub-acute services in the Salisbury community. According to officials, 16 years ago, patients who required sub-acute rehabilitation were being delayed in their recovery due to the hospital not being able to find suitable places for those patients to go upon discharge.

Officials said that however, factors such as the changing healthcare delivery model, advances in care, and practice patterns, especially in orthopaedics, mean that many patients no longer require inpatient hospital rehabilitation and can instead go home with the assistance of outpatient services. Officials said factors, along with declining lengths of stay and an increase of rehabilitation options in the community, such as the opening of HealthSouth Chesapeake Rehab Hospital and expansion of Genesis Salisbury Nursing and Rehab Center, have led PRMC to a decision to close its TCU beginning Friday. 

"During its tenure the TCU and its team have provided exceptional service, but the unit has achieved its goal and a duplication of these types of services is no longer necessary. This is a trend occurring across the nation as the need for in-hospital, sub-acute care is diminishing," said Christopher Hall, vice president of strategy and business development for PRMC. 

The 30-bed, non-acute unit, located on the third floor of the hospital, is operated with joint venture partner Genesis Healthcare and cares for a limited number of patients who require non-acute, skilled medical services. These services are provided at numerous centers in and around the local community. 

The TCU will stop accepting patients Friday and continue to work with patients, families for a smooth transition to alternate care, officials said.  The unit will permanently close following the discharge of its final remaining patient.

 "As health care is continuing to change, we must continue to adapt. That means evaluating all services we offer inside the hospital walls, as well as the services offered elsewhere in our community, and removing the duplication," Hall said.  "Currently there is an acute rehabilitation hospital and many excellent skilled nursing homes within the community, allowing patients to stay close to families, creating a diminishing need for hospital-based sub-acute care.  Given the existing quality community facilities, and our partnership with Genesis Healthcare, it was a logical decision for these patients to be cared for in the most appropriate setting."

The move was also a cost-cutting measure as hospital officials say the Affordable Care Act sits on their doorstep and more cuts may be on the way.

"It would be premature at this point to give you an idea of how many positions may or may not be lost organizationally.  Will that occur?  It probably will but it is such a fluid situation right now that it would be premature to have that discussion and try and speculate on what may be involved," said Roger Follebout, PRMC Director of Community Relations.

Approximately 43 employees will be affected by these changes, officials said, adding that PRMC will work with these employees to try to find them other positions within the health system or with other skilled nursing facilities in our area.

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