Health care:

Union confirms nursing layoffs at St. Rose Dominican hospitals

St. Rose Dominican Hospitals - Siena Campus in Las Vegas on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.

For the second time in the past year, St. Rose Dominican Hospitals management is shedding dozens of workers, a union official confirmed Monday.

Up to 40 nurses from the Las Vegas Valley hospital system are expected to lose their jobs in coming weeks, according to Desi Murray, Catholic Division director at the California Nurses Association, which represents the nurses.

The total includes eight to 10 nurses from St. Rose’s Home Health Services unit, which provides in-home care.

St. Rose, owned by Dignity Health, a San Francisco-based hospital chain, has 1,400 nurses at its three valley hospitals, Murray said. The 40 layoffs would comprise 3 percent of that workforce.

The company said in a release that fewer than 25 nursing positions "will be restructured." It said that those affected by the moves "will be offered the opportunity to transfer to a vacant nursing position within St. Rose."

The layoffs would come a few months after Dignity officials had announced union nurses in Nevada and California had ratified new four-year contracts. The agreements, which expire in June 2017, include a wage freeze in the first year but an overall pay raise of 9 percent over the length of the deal, according to St. Rose.

Hospital officials said a year ago they were eliminating 100 positions from the St. Rose system. The cutbacks were said to be mostly in supervisory or support positions and not in direct patient care.

Executives blamed the reductions on, among other reasons, the recession and reduced reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers.

Dignity’s finances have been profitable but volatile in recent years.

With facilities in Nevada, California and Arizona, the company booked $812 million in profit in the year ending June 30, 2013. That compares to $135 million in profit in 2012 and $917 million in 2011.

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