Gulfport Memorial Hospital

Memorial Hospital, the largest hospital in Harrison County, began laying off employees on Tuesday. 

The cuts are due to increased costs brought on by the pandemic, according to a statement released by the hospital.

Fewer than 90 people, or 2% of the hospital’s workforce, were laid off, and most of the positions did not involve direct patient care, according to the statement. No additional layoffs are expected, and no service lines will be shuttered. 

“These difficult steps will help ensure the long-term sustainability of our health system so we can continue to offer the same services to our community,” CEO Kent Nicaud said. “We are committed to providing high-quality care close to home.”

Affected employees can apply for Memorial’s dozens of open positions, the hospital said, and Memorial will offer career placement services. 

Memorial has sustained big financial losses in recent years. Just a year ago, the hospital laid off and demoted several top administrators, citing financial strain prompted by the pandemic. 

It’s the latest hospital to make cuts amid the state’s health care crisis.

Recently, Alliance Healthcare System in Holly Springs ended inpatient care, Singing River in Gulfport suspended obstetric services, and Greenwood Leflore closed its labor and delivery department.

One report puts a third of Mississippi’s rural hospitals at risk of closure, with a half of those at risk of closure within three years. 

Correction 5/3/23: This story has been updated to reflect that most of the positions that were cut did not involve direct patient care.

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Devna Bose, a Neshoba County native, covers community health. She is a 2019 graduate of the University of Mississippi, where she studied print journalism and was a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. Before joining Mississippi Today, Devna reported on education at Chalkbeat Newark and at the Post and Courier’s Education Lab, and on race and social justice at the Charlotte Observer. Her work has appeared in the Hechinger Report, the Star-Ledger and the Associated Press, and she has appeared on WNYC to discuss her reporting. Devna has been awarded for her coverage of K-12 education in the Carolinas.