Health Care

Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital lays off 14

by Leslie Turk

City-Parish Councilwoman Liz Hebert among those affected by downsizing.

Lafayette Surgical Specialty Hospital CEO Buffy Domingue has confirmed to ABiz that the boutique hospital laid off 14 employees last week.

Domingue attributes the cuts to “declining reimbursements and changing economic pressures," saying roughly 40 percent of the hospital's business is tied to Medicare reimbursements.

“After careful consideration the LSSH board agreed the restructuring of the hospital was necessary to continue the hospital’s mission to provide quality care to our community,” Domingue says. “We wish this wasn’t necessary, but after a thorough review of the ongoing economic pressures, we had no other options.”

Domingue says the cuts were made after a comprehensive review of the hospital's operations, and the 14 eliminated positions were roughly half clinical and half non-clinical workers.

LSSH was founded in 2004 by a group of local physicians, who sold a controlling interest in the facility to Chicago-based National Surgical Hospitals in early 2011.

The Kaliste Saloom Road hospital has approximately 215 employees, and among those affected by the cuts is Lafayette City-Parish Councilwoman Liz Hebert, who joined the hospital's marketing department in January 2016, a move that followed her promise to constituents that she would leave her sales manager position at the Cajundome and Convention Center — due to potential conflicts of interest — if elected in November 2015.

LSSH is certainly not alone in its economic struggles, as thousands of jobs — including some in health care — have been lost in Acadiana due to a prolonged downturn in the oil and gas industry. In December, the Lafayette metro was ranked No. 1 in the country for job losses by financial news site 24/7WallSt.

In September, Lafayette General Health announced that it was laying off 70 employees, and a month later confirmed that its decision not to renew a custodial contract with Philadelphia-based Aramark Healthcare Services would affect 243 employees (some of whom LGH said could apply for other positions at its hospitals).

LSSH's Domingue is hopeful changes to the Affordable Care Act will bode well for hospitals like hers and the health care industry as a whole, but she acknowledges the high level of uncertainty. "No one knows what that's going to look like," she says.