PAWTUCKET — A little over a month after the much-talked-about merger with the Care New England Health System, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island on Thursday laid off seven employees in a cost-cutting move.
Susan McDonald, a spokesperson for the hospital, confirmed the seven job reductions, but said that one of the individuals, a senior vice president, had retired. She said the layoffs had included another senior vice president, two employees who had worked in Memorial Hospital's print shop, and three in facilities management.
McDonald did not identify the employees whose jobs were affected. According to several sources, the retired employee was Thomas L. Ross, who had been senior vice president of Environmental and Support Services at Memorial. Ross could not be reached for comment.
McDonald said the hospital is trying to save money and the recent merger with Care New England has allowed “for some economies to be pursued.” For example, she noted that Care New England has a print shop, so Memorial no longer needs to operate its own.
When asked if there were more layoffs coming, McDonald said “There is nothing planned at this time, but it is an ongoing process.” She said the management is looking at “every aspect of business” and how to make things more economical while still providing a quality health care environment.
On Sept. 3, leadership from the Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island (MHRI), and Care New England (CNE) appeared together at Memorial's Pawtucket location to sign the closing paperwork for the merger. Under the agreement, the 125-year-old community hospital, which had been facing financial challenges, became the fourth hospital partner in CNE, joining Butler, Kent, and Women and Infants hospitals.
MHRI interim president and CEO Arthur DeBlois III had said the merger strengthens MHRI for the future and ensures the hospital will be able to provide an expanded array of specialty services to its patients in the Blackstone Valley and beyond.