Plans call for more than 250 employees to be laid off, including nurses, patient care technicians, unit clerks, patient transporters and others in medical-surgical and intensive care units, sources said.
Layoffs include 25 to 30 same-day surgery nurses, ambulatory nurses and surgery nurses with several departments like ambulatory surgery to be closed, sources said.
Two licensed practical nurses were laid off this week. Ten respiratory therapists were laid off this week along with an equipment technician of nearly 40 years service and a secretary of 30 years.
"It breaks all our hearts because some have been at St. John for years," said a St. John nurse, who asked to remain anonymous. "We have been told by managers that there will be more changes. We don't know. They tell us one thing one day and another thing the next. We are being asked to take care of a patient load that is unsafe for patients and staff."
A cardiac catheter department scan technician was laid off this week and other layoffs in the imaging department are expected. Two sources said more imaging studies are being conducted in outpatient settings and only one technician is required per scanner.
More than 40 patient transporters are expected to be laid off soon and transferred to Touchpoint Support Services, which contracts with at least three St. John hospitals for dietary and housekeeping services. This week Touchpoint, which was created for Ascension and is also owned by Compass Group, advertised for 70 patient transporters and patient sitters.
Two sources said they were told by a manager that the same would happen at three other St. John hospitals.
St. John is also cutting more nursing clerks, inpatient pharmacy technicians, occupational therapists and physical therapists.
Besides declining patient volume, one St. John employee said the manager told him one factor in the layoffs is that the reimbursement rates that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan pays are well below other insurers.
Another St. John Detroit nurse complained in an email that nearly all support staff on nursing units have been fired.