SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- Trustees have decided how Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport will cut costs to make up for financial struggles.
Last month WWAY was first to report the hospital was preparing employees for potential layoffs or early retirement packages.
In a unanimous decision today Dosher trustees voted to pursue early retirement plans and reduce staffing.
It's unwelcome news for the community.
"We really need this hospital, and laying off staff isn't good for patients who come here. it's not good for them either as employees," said Brenda Fisher, who has been a patient at the hospital.
Dosher CEO Tom Siemers says the loss of physicians, increased costs, reduction in payments and reimbursements and increase in uncompensated care are to blame for the current financial situation. But could recent renovations and updates also be to blame?
"Those projects did not have bearing on the board's decision to pursue this plan," Dosher spokesman Kirk Singer said.
Singer says right now it is unclear how many jobs will be cut.
Workers we spoke with did not want to go on camera, but community members say they are not happy with the decision.
"Quite frankly, I'm very disappointed," Southport resident Sherry Soto said. "As a consumer in a new community, I want all the health services that can possibly be provided. and, i think with a cut, that means possibly a cut in healthcare services."
Fisher says there are things the board can do to improve finances that does not include firing workers.
"I think we should ask for donations from the community," she said, "because that's what the hospital is here for: to serve."
Singer says he will release a statement with more details about the layoffs and early retirement packages tomorrow.