Auburn Regional to lay off 827 employees; MultiCare hopes to hire most of them back in ownership transition

Auburn Regional Medical Center will lay off 827 employees, effective Sept. 28, but most will be hired back – part of a technical sale process of the local hospital to Tacoma's MultiCare Health System.

"This is part of the transition and nearly all of the workers will become MultiCare employees through this process," said Marce Edwards, manager of media relations and Web communications with MultiCare.

Edwards said MultiCare is working now to extend jobs to Auburn Regional workers. Auburn employees have been invited to apply for positions that will begin once the transition is closed, which is expected at the end of September.

Auburn Regional Medical Center, a 213-bed hospital that employs 861, has served the community since 1921.

MultiCare, a regional, nonprofit integrated health system headquartered in Tacoma, purchased the hospital and clinic assets of Auburn Regional from Universal Health Services Inc. (UHS), a corporation based in King of Prussia, Pa.

UHS said the proceeds of the sale, which was first announced in early May, was to be approximately $98 million. The deal was expected to close in late September after regulators issue their approval.

The sale is another example of a trend in which smaller regional hospitals join larger chains.

Auburn Regional is part of MultiCare's integrated nonprofit health care system, which includes Tacoma General Hospital, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital & Health Center, Allenmore Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital and numerous outpatient clinics and specialty centers.

Auburn Regional is the first hospital for MultiCare in King County. Its cross-town competitor, Franciscan Health System, operates two county hospitals, St. Frances in Federal Way and St. Elizabeth in Enumclaw.

The layoff notice was posted Wednesday on the Washington State Employment website. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) act requires companies with 100 or more employees to notify affected workers 60 days prior to closures and layoffs.


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