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More struggles at Trios Health. This time, it’s layoffs

Trios Southridge Hospital
Trios Southridge Hospital Tri-City Herald file

Thirty-two Trios Health employees are out of job.

The Kennewick hospital announced the reduction this week. It represents about 4 percent of Trios’ workforce.

The employees came from “many areas of the hospital,” said Jeff Atwood, spokesman for RCCH HealthCare Partners, Trios’ new parent company. He added that about 95 percent were in non-clinical areas.

The layoffs come after a tumultuous few years at Trios, in which troubled finances led to a Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing and then acquisition by the Tennessee-based RCCH, which also recently purchased Lourdes Health in Pasco.

“As you would expect, this has been an incredibly challenging day for our team, especially for the affected colleagues,” said Trios CEO John Solheim in a statement. “The uncertainty brought on by the significant financial challenges and bankruptcy resulted in physicians leaving the area, patients choosing to go elsewhere for care, and minimal investment in services and physician recruitment.

“As a result, according to both national standards and existing patient census, the current staff at the hospital outnumbered the need.”

In August, hospital admissions were down nearly 25 percent compared to the same period in 2017, the Trios statement said.

Inpatient surgeries fell by 13 percent and outpatient procedures decreased by 22 percent, it said. The hospital also saw a significant dip in its physician ranks, with the number of doctors employed by Trios Medical Group dropping by 12 percent.

Trios said affected employees will receive severance pay and most are eligible for continued coverage through COBRA.

Trios dates to 1948 and was the Tri-Cities’ only public hospital and its last remaining independent hospital system.

But years of financial struggle led to service cuts, layoffs and, ultimately, bankruptcy. The August sale to RCCH was a key part of Trios’ plan to regain solvency.

RCCH is operating Trios as part of a joint venture with UW Medicine in Seattle.

RCCH closed on its purchase of Lourdes Health earlier this month. The Pasco hospital system is retaining its Catholic identity and isn’t part of the joint venture.

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529