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Novant lays off 160 employees as part of 'difficult' organizational redesign, 'local roles impacted'

Novant Health - New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Benjamin Schachtman
Novant Health — New Hanover Regional Medical Center.

Novant Health said the workforce reductions would mainly impact administrators and managers, but noted it impacted a small portion of its 36,000-strong workforce. The healthcare company confirmed there were local layoffs.

On Wednesday evening, Novant Health confirmed it reduced its workforce by 160 positions. Novant has struggled publicly over the last several years with staffing shortages that have led the healthcare company to rely on costly temporary employees — specifically on 'traveling nurses.'

Earlier this year, former New Hanover Regional Medical Center CEO Shelbourn Stevens told WHQR that Novant had barely broken even, avoiding a negative balance only by selling off part of its business. Stevens was sacked shortly afterward; Novant is reportedly still searching for a replacement CEO for NHRMC.

Novant was bound by a two-year moratorium on layoffs at NHRMC as part of its purchase of the formerly county-owned hospital. That moratorium expired earlier this year, marked by the layoff of Dr. Philip Brown, who had been NHRMC's chief physician executive; the layoff was part of a workforce reduction that impacted shy of 50 positions.

Novant said the layoffs would not affect the quality of patient care.

Asked if there had been layoffs at New Hanover Regional Medical Center or Brunswick Medical Center, a spokesperson for Novant Health confirmed that "local roles were impacted," but did not provide additional details.

Novant Health's full statement:

Novant Health is making changes across the health system as part of an organizational redesign plan. In a challenging healthcare environment, we are focused on how we can work differently to prioritize direct patient care, operate more efficiently and reimagine how we serve our patients.

As part of that work, we are taking the difficult step of reducing our workforce by 160 positions, or less than 0.5% of the 36,000 positions across the health system. This reduction mainly impacts management and administrative roles. We take these decisions very seriously and are grateful for our team members’ service and contributions to our patients and our communities. We are doing everything we can to support them through this transition.

This decision absolutely will not affect our ability to deliver high-quality, safe care to our patients and communities. Novant Health is a strong organization with a bold vision for the future, exploring new and different ways to innovate to deliver even better care and create remarkable experiences for our patients, people and communities.

Ben Schachtman is a journalist and editor with a focus on local government accountability. He began reporting for Port City Daily in the Wilmington area in 2016 and took over as managing editor there in 2018. He’s a graduate of Rutgers College and later received his MA from NYU and his PhD from SUNY-Stony Brook, both in English Literature. He loves spending time with his wife and playing rock'n'roll very loudly. You can reach him at BSchachtman@whqr.org and find him on Twitter @Ben_Schachtman.