Shared from the 8/10/2016 Albany Times Union eEdition

LPN jobs cut in Troy

Samaritan Hospital eliminates 22 positions in new staffing model


Samaritan Hospital eliminated 22 full- and part-time positions for licensed practical nurses who served on staff teams treating hospital patients.

The employees were offered jobs in other parts of St. Peter’s Health Partners, the hospital’s parent, said Norman Dascher, chief executive of Samaritan and St. Mary’s hospitals in Troy. Eighteen accepted the positions, two declined and left the hospital and two stayed on their medical units as patient-care technicians, spokesman Michael Mullaney said.

St. Peter’s Hospital uses a staff model that includes registered nurses and aides, but not LPNs, Dascher said. Samaritan will adopt this model.

RNs, who are required to have more years of education than LPNs, have a broader scope of professional authority than LPNs and can assess patients’ overall conditions, for instance. Under the current Samaritan model, RNs had to oversee the work of LPNs.

In the new model, each team consisting of an RN and aide will care for fewer patients said Dr. Daniel Silverman, chief medical officer for the Troy hospitals.

Albany Memorial Hospital employs a “very minimal” number of LPNs, but there is no plan to eliminate the positions at this time, Mullaney said.

Mean LPN annual salaries were about $20,000 less than RNs in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metro area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s 2015 occupational employment statistics.

The shift makes sense for Samaritan as more medical services are provided on an outpatient basis, Silverman said, leaving only the sickest patients in need of hospital care. Samaritan is also reducing the number of inpatient beds.

The smaller team of RN and aide will allow for greater continuity of care for patients, Silverman said.

The LPN position remains in high demand within the health system, in such areas as longterm care for seniors and primary care, St. Peter’s officials said.

Demand for LPNs in acute care has declined as hospitals see a surplus of registered nurses, said Jean Moore, director of the New York Center for Health Workforce Studies at the University at Albany. But in long-term care, Moore said, “LPNs are indispensable.”

“They are an important part of the long-term care workforce,” she said.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data show 2,740 LPNs worked in the Albany-Schenectady-Troy area in 2015, a figure that includes workers in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and other sites. Since 2000, the number of LPNs in the metro area has ranged between 2,370 and 2,990.

But the 20 largest acute care hospital organizations nationally sought to hire fewer LPNs in 2012 than they did in 2007, according to Boston-based job market analytics group Burning Glass. For every one LPN job posted in 2012, 10 RN positions were posted, a decline from the 2007 1:6 ratio, that group said in data provided to The Wall Street Journal.

chughes@timesunion. com lellis@timesunion. com

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