Approximately 800 UHC employees were issued WARN letters Monday morning due to the state budget crisis.
Lawmakers failed to close an estimated $1 billion budget gap during a special session called exclusively for that purpose in March. That special session cost Louisiana taxpayers $642,968, with $324,879.47 of that amount being paid to legislators in the form of mileage and per diems. So far during the regular session, no progress has been made on the issue of hospital funding. Lafayette General Health already has warned the state that a cut in funding to the hospital will result in layoffs.
Lafayette General Health has a public-private partnership with the state to run UHC. However, if state funding is cut, Lafayette General Health will not be able to uphold its contract and will return UHC to the state, which would have a big impact on health care in Acadiana – and cost hundreds of employees their jobs.
KATC’s Valerie Ponseti is at the hospital getting reaction and will have more later today.
WARN letters are required by federal labor law. Employers are required to give workers a 60-day notice in advance of either a plant closing or a "mass layoff," which is determined by a formula that takes into account the number of people to be laid off as well as the percent of the company’s workforce.
To read more about what a WARN letter means, click here to see the fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Labor.
A website offering information about the situation has been created. Click here to see it. You can look up your state legislators and send them a message about the issue, and connect with social media to keep up with developments.
"Today, Lafayette General Health is starting a movement #SAVEUHC. University Hospital & Clinics (UHC) serves more than 54,000 patients each year! With no budget for healthcare UHC will have to close its doors on June 30 if the legislature cannot find the funding," a post on the Lafayette General Health Facebook page states. "Join the #SAVEUHC movement by visiting the website to take action by contacting your state legislators and urge them to keep UHC doors open."