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Decline in patient volume forces hospital to make staffing cuts in ER

After cutting nine positions in early January, Sunnyside Community Hospital has been forced to cut four more positions this week.

"We made four cuts in the emergency department because of continued declining patient volumes," said hospital spokesman Tom Lathen. "Four support positions were eliminated."

The cuts are also due to financial uncertainty caused by the current budget crisis in the state legislature. The funding of rural critical care hospitals is one of the items being debated.

"It's just a tough time for health care everywhere," said Lathen. "We have to do everything we can to take care of patients."

Employees at the hospital have already taken a 4.5 percent pay cut this year. But with the declining patient volumes, more cuts were necessary.

"They are not nursing or physician positions, but still real jobs held by real people that are lost," said Lathen.

"It's not just numbers, it's friends."

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