by Brendan Sample

Chestnut Hill Hospital confirmed several major staffing changes that will ultimately impact more than 30 individual jobs. The position of Unit Clerk will be changed to Unit Support Coordinator, while the roles of Patient Sitter and Patient Greeter will be outright eliminated.

The move was criticized by the hospital workers’ union and State Rep. Chris Rabb.

With 18 USC openings replacing the 23 Unit Clerks currently at the hospital, along with five Patient Sitters and five Patient Greeters, at least 15 employees will be losing their jobs. Similar changes are also being made at Pottstown Hospital, which, along with CH Hospital, is owned by Tower Health.

The changes will take effect on Nov. 10. Any employees looking to stay on as a USC will need to qualify for and accept the new position, which the hospital says will provide the same or a slightly higher pay rate, though factors such as years of service can also play a role in determining salaries. While some affected workers have already accepted new positions, those who will not be returning will be provided severance.

“We value our employees and are working to place them into the new positions, based on their interest and qualifications, or to identify other positions in their current hospitals or in Tower Health,” a representative of Tower Health said in a statement. “These changes will improve the patient experience at both hospitals, enhance our nursing services and are part of the ongoing improvements in staffing, technology and facilities Tower Health is making at Chestnut Hill Hospital, Pottstown Hospital and throughout our system.”

The new staffing changes have been met with backlash from affected workers, the hospital’s union, SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Healthcare Pennsylvania, and State Rep. Chris Rabb, who has been appealing to the hospital directly in an effort to suspend the changes.

“As the state representative for the district in which your hospital operates and as a resident whose family has received quality services there for over the past 17 years, I care deeply about the hospital’s impact on my community and its internal stakeholders who work at your facility, as well as the patients whose lives are saved every day by their care,” Rabb said in a letter to John Cacciamani, CEO of the hospital.

This news comes in the wake of Tower Health’s announcement last month that it would be purchasing St. Christopher’s Children’s Hospital for $50 million and managing it alongside Drexel University. This move was made in spite of the fact that Tower Health operated at a $167.9 million in the most recent fiscal year, which ended on June 30.

Brendan Sample can be reached at brendan@chestnuthilllocal.com or 215-248-8819.

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