Highland Hospital in Charleston announces 31 layoffs

Highland Hospital in Charleston, a subsidiary of Tennessee-based Meridian Behavioral Health Systems, announces Friday it is cutting its workforce by 31 employees. (WCHS/WVAH)

Highland Hospital in Charleston, a subsidiary of Tennessee-based Meridian Behavioral Health Systems, announced Friday it is cutting its workforce by 31 employees.

The company said in a news release the layoffs come after evaluating current staffing. Highland is focusing its Charleston efforts on inpatient care and supporting outpatient providers in the community that refer patients to Highland.

“For Highland to provide high-quality inpatient behavioral health services, we must retool to meet the demands of the current marketplace,” Cynthia Persily, chief executive officer of Highland, said. “For Highland, demands require focusing on inpatient services.”

In August 2017, Highland announced the sale to Meridian, had been OK’d by HHA Inc., the parent company of the Highland Hospital Association and other Highland companies in Charleston.

Highland Hospital employed about 400 people in 2017.

Highland includes the Highland Hospital Association, a psychiatric hospital with 80 acute-care beds for adults, children and adolescents and a 24-bed psychiatric residential treatment facility for children and adolescents; Highland Health Center Inc.; a 16-bed residential treatment and detoxification program; and Process Strategies, an outpatient provider with integrated behavioral health care and pharmacy services.

In the new release about the job cuts, the company said the evaluation indicated greater efficiency with the electronic medical record system and a reduction in paperwork requirements from managed care companies, for instance. The job cuts will not affect direct patient care, Highland said.

The company said Highland and Meridian continue to invest in West Virginia. It said one example of that commitment is the development of a new facility, the Highlands at Sugar Grove at the former U.S. Navy base in Pendleton County. Construction there should completed by early November.

Layoffs were effective Friday. Individuals affected might be able to apply for other open positions at Highland for which they are qualified.

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