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St. Mary's in Superior to lay off up to 20

The administration at St. Mary's Hospital of Superior, in conjunction with the human resources department at SMDC, has put the finishing touches on a layoff plan that will affect upward of 20 positions at the Superior hospital campus.

The administration at St. Mary's Hospital of Superior, in conjunction with the human resources department at SMDC, has put the finishing touches on a layoff plan that will affect upward of 20 positions at the Superior hospital campus.

Terry Jacobson, CEO of St. Mary's Hospital of Superior, confirmed Monday that the layoff plan is now in the review process by SMDC officials and affected unions.

With a current hospital staff of around 250 employees, the reduction will represent less than 10 percent of the total hospital staff. And as for rumors that St. Mary's Hospital of Superior is closing, Jacobson said "that's very premature. The hospital is experiencing the same difficulties other health care facilities are experiencing across the country -- especially rural hospitals. There are some things we are looking at and working on to hopefully help this situation, but to say we're closing is very premature.

"Most of our staff is unionized. We've defined the positions, but we haven't defined the people who will have their positions eliminated. That's where we're at with the unions so they will have the information that we're looking at."

As for when employees would actually be let go, Jacobson wasn't sure "but it will be soon. We have to get our expenses in line with our revenues."

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Beth Johnson, spokeswoman for SMDC in Duluth, said Monday that the layoffs recently announced by the hospital system include personnel at St. Mary's Hospital in Superior.

"We've concentrated the layoffs mainly in the area of management," said Johnson. "Other layoffs in the organization will be targeted. We're taking a real targeted approach with this. We want to keep the staff reductions as far away from patient services as we can."

SMDC's systemwide employment is around 6,800 employees, with less than 2 percent being affected by the current round of layoffs.

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