Touro Infirmary, New Orleans, will eliminate nearly 500 positions, roughly one-third of its workforce, from its payroll Oct. 31, hospital President and Chief Executive Officer Les Hirsch said. The hospital is operating 84 beds, about one-third of its average daily census before it was shut down by Hurricane Katrina in early September. The layoffs include about 50 nurses, many in psychiatry and rehabilitation, from a total nursing staff of 497, and one physician from an outpatient department. Hirsch said the irony is Touro, the only adult hospital to reopen in Orleans Parish, is recruiting medical-surgical and critical-care nurses. Touro reopened its emergency department Sept. 28 and has brought other services back on line incrementally at a total reopening cost of as much as $6 million so far. Hirsch said he expects the hospital to sustain substantial operating losses in the months to come. -- by Cinda Becker
New Orleans hospital back at work, but will lay off 500
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