The Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation started handing out pink slips Monday. Switchboard operator, Hilary Jung, says she went into work for her noon shift and was called into an office by managers.
“So I walked in there and there was three people in there waiting for me and I knew as soon as I walked in what was going to happen. And sure enough they just told me that they were very sorry but they were going to have to let me go to all the budget cuts. I was so upset I just was crying in there.”
Jung says she’s 62 years old and worries about being able to find employment again.
YKHC officials announced the layoffs in May (5/7), but began notifying employees Monday.
Officials said the reduction was necessary due to an $11.7 million budget shortfall. They say they never recovered from Indian Health Service cuts plus had trouble meeting revenue collection goals and made hefty investments in a new elders home and a new medical records system.
It’s the second round of cuts in less than a year. Last fall around 50 positions were cut.
YKHC consists of a regional hospital in Bethel, nine regional facilities and 47 village clinics. The corporation employs around 1,500 people and has an annual payroll of $70 million.
Officials decline to speak Monday, but say the layoffs will continue this week and they’ll release more information Friday.
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