Chalmette Hospital to Extend Pay for Staff

Times Staff Writer

The employees of Chalmette Medical Center, some of whom complained last week that their employer was ending their salaries after the hospital was severely damaged in Hurricane Katrina, are getting another week’s pay.

Universal Health Services, which owns the hospital in Chalmette, an eastern suburb of New Orleans, and two other hospitals in the Crescent City, said this week that its 2,800 employees in the storm region would continue to be paid through Saturday and that their benefits would continue until Dec. 31.

The Pennsylvania-based corporation had said it would guarantee pay only through Sept. 24 and benefits until Oct. 31, but that those dates could change. The company is also guaranteeing employees jobs elsewhere in its network of 85 hospitals and extended-care facilities, an offer it says was taken by about 100 workers.

Steve Filton, chief financial officer of the company, which had $3.9 billion in revenue last year, said pay and benefits could be extended again, but that that was dependent on negotiations with its insurers. The three New Orleans-area hospitals provided the company with 7% of its revenue in the first half of 2005, and all are closed.


Filton said the company was proud that it kept Chalmette Medical Center open during Hurricane Katrina.

St. Bernard Parish officials and the chief of the hospital’s emergency room have complained that they urged the hospital to evacuate faster, but hospital officials said they did not receive such advice.