More than 100 Emory Healthcare employees will lose their jobs, effective Nov. 15, due to a restructuring of the company’s neuropsychology unit at the Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital.
The restructuring includes the renovation of two neuropsychiatry units at Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, which is located on Clifton Rd., and downsizing the hospital from three to two units, Mark Rapaport, chairman and chief of psychiatric services at Emory University School of Medicine, wrote in an email to the Wheel.
The reason for the restructuring, Rapaport wrote, is to provide a team-based approach for patients, family care and training.
“State of the art care for patients with dementia is best done in the location that the patient is living – nursing home, assisted living, or private residence since relocating them to a hospital is disorienting and frightening and does not usually take care of the environmental stressor causing the initial problem,” he wrote.
The company plans to launch an adult and geriatric psychiatry program for mood disorders, psychosis and other psychiatric disorders in November, according to Vincent Dollard, associate vice president for health sciences communications.
Emory Healthcare employs over 16,000 people, according to President and CEO of Emory Healthcare John Fox.
The company decided the fairest approach was to open up the new positions to only existing employees, and they encouraged those affected to apply for these position, Rapaport wrote.
“We want to keep them as Emory employees, we have invested a great deal of time in ongoing training and competency assessments,” he explained to the Wheel. “They are very valuable people to have working at Emory, thus we are providing each employee with HR personnel to work with and help guide them through the application process for jobs in psychiatry and in other parts of Emory Healthcare.”
When WSB-TV, an Atlanta news station, reported the story, the news organization said the layoffs were due to the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s health care reform bill.
The Wheel reported last week that Emory Healthcare recently underwent a rebranding, including a new logo, slogan and ad campaign.
Fox said that the rebranding was not in response to the Affordable Care Act.
Fox also wrote in an email on Monday afternoon to the staff and physicians of Emory Healthcare denying the link between the displaced employees and the health care bill.
Dollard confirmed that neither the rebranding nor the layoffs are related to the Affordable Care Act.
“The most important point here is that we would be making these changes even if the Affordable Care Act had never been passed,” Dollard said.
According to Dollard, the healthcare reform bill had been briefly mentioned at the meeting to discuss the layoffs, but the information was misinterpreted.
Dollard denied that the purpose of the layoffs were to cut costs for Emory Healthcare.
He also said that he did not know whether the layoffs saved Emory Healthcare any money.
“No one is happy about what we have to do – we know we are disrupting people’s lives, and this is very sad, and we want to help everyone that we can find employment within our system,” Rapaport concluded in his email.
– By Rupsha Basu
Correction (9/17 at 9:19 p.m.): The article originally stated that Vincent Dollard’s title was vice president of communications for Emory Healthcare. His title is actually associate vice president for health sciences communications.