Chaplains, pharmacists among those laid off

Centegra Health System officials announced plans Sept. 19 to eliminate or outsource 361 jobs in the face of mounting financial pressure.

The layoffs will affect 131 employees throughout the Crystal Lake-based health system, including case managers, chaplains, interpreters, pharmacists and social service workers, according to documents filed as part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

Another 230 positions — among them, records clerks, financial counselors and receptionists — will be outsourced to nThrive, a Georgia-based company specializing in patient billing and medical coding.

Centegra, which recently reduced services at its Woodstock hospital, reported operating losses of $62.3 million in the last fiscal year, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.

“The decision to take these steps is among the most difficult that any organization can make,” Centegra CEO Michael Eesley wrote in a memo sent to employees the day layoffs were announced. “Although financial pressures have forced us to address our business structure, it feels deeply personal.”

All employees whose jobs were outsourced will be offered positions with nThrive, Eesley wrote. People who are laid off will receive full pay and benefits for 60 days, a separation package and help finding new jobs.

The workforce reduction began Sept. 19 and is expected to be completed by Nov. 20.

A letter sent to local municipalities impacted by the layoffs said the health system was unable to give advance notice to some employees as typically required by law.

“While Centegra acknowledges that, in normal circumstances, 60 days’ advance notice may be required under the federal WARN law, Centegra may not be able to provide such notice that far in advance due to the unforeseeable business circumstances regarding the unanticipated and dramatic major downturn in the national economy which has affected our business,” the letter stated.

A Centegra spokeswoman declined an opportunity to comment.

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