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Suburban General warns of up to 344 layoffs in Bellevue

West Penn Allegheny Health System officials today said they aren't certain how many of the 344 employees at the Allegheny General Hospital Suburban campus in Bellevue will be laid off or transferred when the hospital ends acute care, emergency and surgical services.

In a letter to the state's Bureau of Workforce Investment, Allegheny General and Wes Penn Hospital CEO Gregory Burfitt said the services will cease Aug. 13. A two-week transition period could be added if needed.

"We don't anticipate all of them losing their jobs," said spokeswoman Kelly Sorice. "We're trying to match people with open positions."

West Penn has about 350 open jobs in its system.

"The 344 number isn't representative of anything," Sorice said. "We just haven't worked out who's going to go where, yet."

Those decisions will be made by August, she said.

The hospital is required by state law to notify the Bureau of Workforce Investment about potential layoffs 60 days in advance. Rather than provide the state with an estimate that was too low, all full-time and part-time employees were included. About 275 full-time employees work at the hospital.

Hospital system officials last month announced it was eliminating inpatient services at the Bellevue facility, but will maintain outpatient services including radiology, laboratory, dialysis and imaging services. An urgent care center will replace the emergency department to treat minor emergencies.

Some employees who worked in the emergency room will be able to work in the urgent care center, if they wish, Sorice said.

Others may choose to transfer or accept severance packages.

"The permanent discontinuance of these services at the Allegheny General Hospital Suburban Campus facility will result in the partial termination of work performed by International Union of Operating Engineers Local 95-95A, and by nonunion employees," the letter said.

Local 95-95A members will be laid off according to their contract, including the ability to bump or displace employees. Non-union employees will not have a right to bump or displace other employees.

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