Sixty workers at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center lost their jobs last week after the hospital closed its skilled nursing facility division where patients go for rehabilitation after a hospital stay.
The hospital said its skilled nursing unit has faced financial challenges for several years and has shrunk from 200 beds in the mid-1980s to fewer than 50 last year.
"We had to look carefully at this program and decided to close the 38-remaining facility beds," Hopkins said Monday in a statement.
The hospital said it is working with the affected employees to provide "support during the transition." Hopkins Bayview employs 3,500 people.
The layoffs come as hospitals have said they are facing increased financial pressure. Many have complained the state Health Services Cost Review Commission, which sets the state's hospital rates, hasn't approved rates that keep up with rising costs.
Other hospitals have laid off workers. University of Maryland Medical System closed the obstetrics unit at its Maryland General hospital in Baltimore. About 50 employees, including 10 to 15 doctors and midwives, were expected to lose their jobs at the time. The system also laid off people at the University of Maryland Medical Center this summer.
Hopkins said it has not laid off employees at other hospitals. Low rate increases and revenue reductions expected from health reform are causing it to watch labor costs, the health system said.
"Our goal is to preserve jobs and avoid layoffs if possible," the health system said in a statement. "We do not have any immediate plans to reduce our workforce. … Like other health care systems, we know that we need to minimize our total labor costs. If at all possible, we will try to reduce these costs through normal attrition."