WestCare cuts 45 jobs

The financially struggling WestCare Medical Center with hospitals in Sylva and Bryson City has eliminated 45 full-time positions, according to a statement from the hospital.

Some of the cuts were achieved through attrition, but others have been laid off.

WestCare has proposed cutting 90 full-time positions over the course of the year.

WestCare CEO Mark Leonard announced in October that a workforce reduction of 30 would occur by Jan. 15, but apparently the schedule has been accelerated.

The plan was designed to stem financial losses, which required a reduction in staff, emphasis on efficiency and focus on physician recruiting to provide patients more access to local healthcare, according to a hospital statement.

Because of national economic problems facing small rural hospitals, WestCare lost $3.2 million between June and August, according to WestCare.

Recruiting qualified physicians to the area is a major component of WestCare’s management plan. Since October, WestCare Health System has signed an ear, nose and throat specialist and has secured verbal commitments from four other physicians. Two internists, a radiologist and an orthopedic surgeon are planning to visit next month, according to the statement.

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