317 Palomar Health​ Employees Laid Off Amid Coronavirus

Kristina Houck

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA — Palomar Health laid off 317 employees effective Wednesday, citing financial strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

There has been a 45 to 50 percent decrease in overall patient visits throughout the health care system since the virus outbreak began, which led to a $5.7 million operating loss in March, "with losses in April expected to be worse, yet hard to estimate given the uncertainty of the virus," according to Palomar Health.

The 317 positions represented 5 percent of Palomar Health's workforce. Of those, 50 were clinical RNs with the majority being part-time workers. The remaining 267 positions spread across the organization, ranging from clerical staff to technicians.

"These are extremely tough decisions that are taken very seriously because we know they affect the livelihood of our employees," Palomar Health President and CEO Diane Hansen said. "However, the sooner we make these tough decisions, the sooner we will be able to stabilize our business and get back on the road to recovery. It is our responsibility to ensure Palomar Health provides high-quality medical care to our community during and after this pandemic."

Don't miss local and statewide news about coronavirus developments and precautions. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters.

Employees who were laid off will receive a severance package and be eligible for unemployment and health insurance coverage through their severance period, according to Palomar Health.

"Palomar Health not only provides an essential service to the region's half a million residents, but is also proud to be one of the largest employers in North County," Hansen said. "We plan to remain a vital economic engine, so we must take these steps now to protect the financial stability of our organization."

Also see:

This article originally appeared on the San Diego Patch