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'Sick' economy forces layoffs at New York hospital

  • Story Highlights
  • Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center employs almost 4,000
  • Because of economy, New York City hospital forced to let 240 workers go
  • Hospital serves people in Brooklyn and East New York
  • Local union says "hospitals are hanging on by a thread"
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From Laura Batchelor
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- A New York City hospital will lay off 240 employees, including doctors, nurses and management positions, because of the difficult economic times, the hospital announced in a statement Monday.

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Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center blamed the cutbacks on budget deficiencies, reductions from Medicaid reimbursements and the rising costs of labor.

Pharmaceutical, energy and malpractice costs also contributed to the need for cutbacks, according to the statement. The cutbacks are in addition to freezes on already vacant positions.

The hospital has nearly 4,000 employees and serves more than one million residents in parts of Brooklyn, as well as the town of East New York, New York.

A letter was sent out this week, notifying employees of the layoffs.

The 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the largest local union in the world, had 178 members affected by these cuts.

In a statement, the union said the situation is dire and "hospitals are hanging on by a thread."

"It's just been a little shocker; you know, you are always hearing about layoffs and you're just hoping that you're not the one," said Kathy Rodney, who lost her job at the hospital.

"I'm a little sad, but God is good, and he'll provide."

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