WEST MEMPHIS, AR, (abc24.com) - Nearly 40 hospital workers are out of a job, laid-off by Crittenden Regional Hospital. It's the first major layoff the city of West Memphis has seen in years.
Nobody from the hospital would talk on camera; they only provided a written statement that says the hospital is losing money because patients don't have insurance.
"It's always sad when somebody gets laid off. We've just been fortunate for years and now is the time where we need to stay afloat," said Holmes Hammett, Executive Director of the West Memphis Chamber of Commerce. He says it was only a matter of time before hospital workers felt the brunt of the bad economy.
"Again, with the economy going as it has in the past several years it's just tough," he said. "There are some people that don't have the insurance and therefore they don't have coverage and it's kind of hard for them to go to the hospital."
When people don't have insurance and need medical care the hospital picks up the tab. So, Crittenden Regional Hospital is trying to save money by laying off workers.
Hammett said, "It does hurt anytime you lay off 39 people, it does hurt us… anytime you downsize it hurts."
It hurts the entire county because the hospital is one of the biggest employers in the area. Coming in first is Schneider National, a trucking company.
Hammett believes there won't be any more layoffs at the hospital. "Based on what I've heard with the downsizing they're going to make sure the healthcare be provided. They're tightening the bootstraps and I think everything is going to work out fine."
The 39 laid off workers will receive a severance package.