District of Columbia, Virginia: Whitman-Walker Clinic Ousts Senior Staff, Triggering Lawsuit Threats
January 5, 2009
Several staff members who worked for decades at the Whitman-Walker Clinic (WWC) were laid off shortly before Christmas, joining dozens who were terminated during recent cutbacks linked to the recession and inadequate service reimbursement.
"I had enough sense, having been an executive director in the past and looking at financials and seeing kind of an inevitability, and anything that wasn't actually directly critical in terms of providing health care was possibly going to be reduced or cut," said Bruce Weiss, WWC's former director of administration. "[The number of staff] is probably half of what it was, yet the clinic is serving double the amount of people," he said. "At some point you cut so deeply that it becomes difficult to function. I hope that's not what becomes of the clinic, since they do such vital work."
"For myself, it did not come out of the blue, since I serve on the executive team, and I was aware of how tight everything was," said Mary Bahr, former director of community health.
One source close to the clinic said some of the dismissed employees are considering filing an age discrimination lawsuit, saying a disproportionate number of those fired are older.
12.26.08; Amy Cavanaugh
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