More than 150 workers could be laid off next month in the wake of Atrium Health switching anesthesiology vendors, according to the provider that no longer holds the contract.
Atrium did not renew a deal with Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants, which was replaced with a vendor that on Sunday took over anesthesiology services at most of Atrium's Charlotte-area hospitals. The new vendor, Scope Anesthesia of North Carolina, is blocked from hiring employees who worked under the Southeast contract by noncompete clauses.
The move is impacting 151 jobs, including 90 anesthesiologists, according to a spokesperson for Southeast and Mednax, the Florida firm of which it is an affiliate.
Notifications received this week by North Carolina Commerce Department officials showed 163 jobs affected, including certified registered nurse anesthetists and people in sales, billing, scheduling and accounting. But the spokesperson for Southeast and Mednax said the companies had misreported figures and were filing a correction with the state.
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Locations where the people worked include Southeast's offices on East Boulevard, Atrium's flagship hospital in Dilworth and other Atrium hospitals throughout the metropolitan area, as well as Atrium surgery centers in the region, according to the notices.
Companies planning mass layoffs and plant closures are required to file the notices by federal law.
The notices say layoffs could begin Aug. 31 but indicate that employees might not be laid off if they accept other positions. Most of the 151 employees will lose their jobs, although the exact total is not yet known, the Southeast/Mednax spokesperson said.
A "small number" of Southeast anesthesiologists and staff will be retained to service other existing contracts for anesthesia services in the region, the spokesperson said.
Affected employees work for American Anesthesiology of the Southeast, according to the filings. Southeast Anesthesiology Consultants had contracted with American Anesthesiology to provide services to Atrium, according to court filings in a lawsuit over the lost Atrium contract.
Southeast Anesthesiology and affiliated companies filed the lawsuit in March after Atrium in December hired Scope to be its new vendor.
The case continues to work its way through North Carolina Business Court.