JFL Board OKs Layoffs, Says Hospital Will Remain Open

The JFL board holds an emergency meeting Friday. (Marina Leonard photo)
The JFL board holds an emergency meeting Friday. (Marina Leonard photo)

In the face of low patient levels caused by damage to the Juan F. Luis Memorial Hospital, the hospital’s governing board voted to begin layoffs “as soon as possible,” to allow affected staff to qualify for federal disaster unemployment.

The board also announced that the hospital will remain functioning for years to come, just not in its current building.

“The hospital is not going out of business,” said Troy de Chabert-Schuster, acting chairman of the board.

The JFL Hospital building has been closed – and may be condemned – due to mold, physical damage and other issues caused by the hurricane. Even before the hurricane JFL was struggling to deal with a collapsing sewer system.

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In the short term, the board plans to have a modular system, called a Western Shelter, in place by early to mid-December.

“Until we get to Western Shelter, patient levels will be quite low,” de Chabert-Schuster said.

A hospital military tent, currently set up outside JLF. (Jamie Leonard photo)
A hospital military tent, currently set up outside JLF. (Jamie Leonard photo)

No physicians or nurses will be laid off. Once the Western Shelter is erected, the board wants to be at optimal staffing. In the meantime, the ER facility will be open to patients and military medical tents have been erected next to the hospital building in order to facilitate in the transition.

The deadline for applying for federal disaster unemployment assistance Nov. 7 for those affected by Hurricane Maria.

“This is something the board is doing with heavy hearts,” he said of the layoffs.

Once the Western Shelter is erected, there will be more than 60 beds, dialysis units and emergency rooms, Chabert-Schuster said. Plans call for it to be in use as long as four years, until the hospital building can be repaired or replaced.

In addition to the layoffs, the board voted to end its contractual agreement with Chief Financial Officer Tim Lessing, and to replace him with Deepak Bansal. Bansal, a St. Croix certified public accountant, is a former CFO and board member of the hospital. He will receive a 180-day contract.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Board Chair Troy Schuster finally got his puppet CEO Wanda Ruben, who is Senator Nellie O’Reilly’s cousin. You can be sure that she will not have the cojones to lay off Schuster’s husband. New CEO Ruben might even promote his spouse .
    Meanwhile, her first act as CEO is to lay other people off? Another day in Nepotism Paradise. The one good thing is that maybe, just maybe, Nellie will stop sabotaging her own St. Croix hospital to the regulators.

  2. Don’t go to that hospital if you can help it..they KILL people there..My mother went in for dehydration..they doped her up so they wouldn’t have to deal with her and let her fall 3 times..she got a closed head injury and they DID NOTHING!! she then was on life support..and I had to decide when to pull the plug..I WILL NEVER GET OVER THIS!
    If you have access to the 2014 Medicare report where they looked into the hospital..I FOUND OUT MY MOM WAS THE FIRST ONE ON THAT LIST.. I THEN found out they DOPED HER UP WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION OR TELLING US! YOU ALL that were in solved will suffer KARMA..LOTS AND LOTS OF KARMA…Not even a letter from anyone at that stinking hospital of condolences and after her death we were denied her medical records!COVERING UP SOME STUFF EH???? probably shredded now..pieces of crap people. I DONT KNOW HOW YOU CAN SLEEP AT NIGHT.

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