St. Dominic Memorial Hospital in Jackson is laying off 157 employees, or 5.5% of its total workforce, and closing all of its behavioral health services.

The employees range from full-time, part-time and PRN (as needed) roles. A spokesperson did not immediately answer how many of the positions are involved in direct patient care.

This is the third health system to announce significant layoffs in Mississippi recently. Both Ochsner Health System and Gulfport Memorial reduced their workforces last month.

The hospital’s geriatric psychiatric and inpatient mental health facilities will stop accepting new admissions on Tuesday at 7 a.m., according to a press release.

The behavioral health services unit consisted of 83 psychiatric beds.

The release cited “substantial financial challenges” and losses of several million dollars in the last three to five years.

“Throughout its 77-year history, the St. Dominic’s ministry has evolved to meet the everchanging needs of the community it serves with a steadfast focus on quality, safety, patient experience and stewardship,” said Scott Kashman, market president and CEO of St. Dominic Health Services and St. Dominic Hospital.

“After thorough discernment and prayerful consideration, we must again adapt and evolve to preserve the ministry in the face of these economic realities and better ensure the long-term health of the organization. Ultimately, these decisions were made in faithfulness to good stewardship of our mission and the ministries we support.” 

Hospitals in Mississippi and across the country are in dire straits: First-quarter cuts among health care companies in the U.S. were up 65% in 2023 compared to 2022, according to Fierce Healthcare.

Hospital officials in Mississippi told lawmakers they would need a total of $230 million in extra funds to stay afloat, but a grant program the Legislature passed only awarded about $100 million. In addition, some hospitals are having trouble accessing the funds they were allocated because of regulations with federal COVID-19 relief money.

St. Dominic was allocated $2.12 million under that program.

Baton Rouge-based Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System bought St. Dominic in 2019.

Employees who have been laid off will continue in their current employment status with regular salary and benefits for at least 60 days following notice. Severance opportunities will also be offered to full-time and part-time team members who are unable to secure other similar roles in the organization, the release said.

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Kate Royals is a Jackson native and returned to Mississippi Today as the lead education reporter after serving in the same capacity from 2016 to 2018. Prior to that, she was a reporter for the Clarion-Ledger covering education and state government. She won awards for her investigative work, including stories about the state’s campaign finance laws and prison system. She was a news producer at MassLive in Springfield, Mass., after graduating from Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communications with a master’s degree in communications.