Visiting Nurse Service of NY to let go hundreds

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York will be slashing 775 jobs — 4% of its workforce — on top of the nearly 600 people it laid off in October, it said in a statement Tuesday.

The layoffs at the non-profit, which provides in-home nursing care, therapy and hospice services in New York City, Nassau County and parts of Westchester, will occur in July.

They are “a direct result of the significant, ongoing changes to home and community-based health care dictated by both federal and state reform,” the VSNYS said in a statement.

Those riffed include both clinical and administrative staff. The action is a result of “redesigning the practice model,” to streamline care coordination, a spokeswoman said.

The layoffs will include about 100 contract coordinators and escort translators who are members of 1199SEIU, said a union source.

Those unhappy about the layoffs aired their disappointment on social media.

“I’m sorry vns but letting go of 800 people plus the translator to its Spanish people is not fare our elderly will need the translating because they don’t know English and those translating lines are wack and a waste of time,” Sarah Diaz wrote on the agency’s Facebook page April 8.

“I’m a spanish interpreter. Got 3 mths. left. Many layoffs.” Diana Hernandez responded, adding a sad emoticon.

“This is a difficult and necessary action, and we fully recognize the impact it will have on our dedicated and loyal workers,” the statement said. But, it continued, the organization has a responsibility to its public sector partners and taxpayers “to reduce costs while continuing to meet our 121-year old mission to preserve and strengthen the health care safety net for New York’s most vulnerable.”

Layoffs are “a normal response when a nursing agency is faced with hardship,” said the owner of a NYC nursing agency who asked to not be identified. New regulations have increased workmen’s comp costs for health care workers by more than 55%, documentation requirements are increasingly onerous and Medicaid payments under new managed care models have been slashed to the bone, he said.

(Sheila Anne Feeney)

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