Big South Fork Medical Center announced on Tuesday, June 5, it’s intent to lay off 20 employees as the hospital transitions out of its start-up phase.

The hospital did not indicate which positions would be cut as it moves forward, instead saying that it intends to “readjust its staffing levels in accordance with our current census.” 

BSFMC, which is approaching its first anniversary in August, said in the statement that it had been over-staffed during its start-up phase.

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“We have taken a cautious approach to staffing levels throughout our startup phase and ensured that we had more staff on hand than was perhaps necessary to facilitate the set-up of the system employed and provide the necessary levels of care,” the hospital said in a statement. “We have now evaluated our cost structure in keeping with the current level of business, business development options and synergies that we intend to implement for the long-term sustainability of the hospital. Unfortunately our evaluation has determined that we need to make a minor adjustment in staffing levels at this time. This decision has not been without the utmost consideration to all parties involved, not the least of which is our customers, staff and their families.”

The 20 jobs that will be eliminated represents about 15 percent of the staff at the hospital.

The hospital pointed out in the statement that the 20 eliminated positions, “while not insignificant means we will continue to directly employ approximately 115 people from the local area.”

West Palm Beach-based Rennova Health Inc. purchased the Oneida hospital from Pioneer Health Services in early 2017, as the bankruptcy-plagued company shuffled its assets. Rennova paid nearly $1 million for the facility, including $500,000 in back taxes that were owed by Pioneer. Big South Fork Medical Center is the first hospital owned by Rennova, which has traditionally been a medical diagnostics and billing support firm.

On Friday, Rennova completed the purchase of Jamestown’s hospital from Tennova and its parent company, Community Health Systems, also for a price tag of about $1 million.

Rennova has struggled financially of late; its stock has consistently traded for less than a penny a share in recent months. One day before announcing the planned acquisition of the Jamestown hospital, Rennova was delisted by the NASDAQ for excessive stock-splitting.

In closing the Jamestown deal on Friday, Rennova said that it expects revenues of about $15 million from that facility.

Rennova CEO Seamus Lagan said told Uptick Newswire’s “Stock Day” podcast last month that the purchase of the Jamestown hospital is key for the company’s future plans.

“Completing this acquisition which includes ownership of a nearby physicians practice and properly integrating and managing them to being cash flow positive and profitable is a key first step,” Lagan said. “If we can do that in the next three to six months and get to where we don’t need additional capital to cover overheads, we can possibly exit 2018 looking for our next acquisition.”

In its statement on Tuesday, BSFMC reasserted its commitment to the community.

“We are happy to repeat that Rennova Health and Big South Fork Medical Center are committed to the citizens of the communities we serve for the long term and we look forward to sharing more positive actions with you in the coming months as we invest in and provide additional services from the hospital,” the hospital stated.

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