Dignity Health cutting 148 Sacramento-area lab workers

Published: Wednesday, May. 15, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 6B
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 15, 2013 - 8:03 am

San Francisco-based Dignity Health's imminent departure from the outpatient lab business will result in 148 layoffs in the Sacramento area next month.

However, there is a chance that some or all of those workers could be absorbed into the Dignity Health system or end up working for Quest Diagnostics, the soon-to-be new owner of the local laboratories.

In a notice filed with the state Employment Development Department, Dignity Health said 148 workers at 18 area lab sites will be laid off effective June 24.

The area layoffs include labs in Sacramento, Carmichael, Elk Grove, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Roseville, Rancho Cordova, Rocklin and Cameron Park.

The area job losses are part of hundreds of layoffs at Dignity Health facilities statewide – including more than 300 in and around Stockton.

In April, New Jersey-based Quest Diagnostics announced a definitive agreement to acquire the lab-related clinical outreach service operations of Dignity Health.

Under the agreement, Quest Diagnostics will acquire lab operations in California and Nevada.

Dignity Health's hospital-based laboratories were not included in the sale. In the Sacramento area, Dignity hospitals include Mercy General, Mercy San Juan, Methodist and others.

Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed, but the transaction is expected to be completed in June.

Melissa Jue, a spokeswoman for Dignity Health, said Tuesday that "we are working with the affected employees who might find employment with Quest Diagnostics … and others who might work elsewhere in the Dignity Health system."

Calls to get a comment from Quest Diagnostics were not returned.

The deal with Quest also affects service centers or draw stations in Woodland, Redding, Long Beach, Glendale, Los Angeles, Ventura, Oxnard and San Bernardino.

Dignity Health officials previously said Quest Diagnostics will be able to offer expanded clinical operations and a wider network of patient service centers, plus "reduced laboratory testing costs."

Dignity Health said proceeds from the sale will enable it to "invest more strategically in its core business of acute and ambulatory clinical care."

Dignity Health bills itself as one of the nation's five largest health care systems, with a 17-state network of nearly 11,000 physicians and more than 50,000 employees.

Call The Bee's Mark Glover, (916) 321-1184.

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