SAN ANDREAS, CA - It's one of those towns where the locals buy local and residents don't need to venture out of town too often.
So when word started spreading that the only hospital in the county plans layoffs next month, it became something to worry about.
"It's not good for the people around this area; they need the people there to help them," said Judy Nye, whose elderly mother lives in San Andreas. "Every place you go any more is layoffs, layoffs. It's not good."
"It's that time of year you don't think about much else, everyone's supposed to stay healthy," San Andreas resident Susan Harper said."I could get myself nervous about that."
The hospital, one of the area's biggest employers, said it has no choice. It's been in operation since 1951 and is half owned by the community and half owned by the Dignity Healthcare system. A hospital spokesperson said the hospital has to restructure to plan for the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.
"We certainly are getting geared up for the Affordable Care Act," Mark Twain St. Joseph Hospital marketing and public relations representative Nicki Stevens said. "We anticipate some really great things happening for the uninsured and the less insured."
But Stevens wouldn't say specifically why the hospital would need to lay off staff because of ObamaCare. The Stockton Record reported a lack of funds and bad economic times contributed to the cuts. Stevens couldn't say how many staffers will be laid off, but it's most likely less than 20 percent of the staff. With a headcount of less than 300 people, a 20 percent cut could mean almost 60 people out of work.
The news makes nurse case manager Marta Johnson a bit nervous. However, Johnson said she participated in staff discussions with the administrator, and said so far, she'll remain optimistic about the plans.
"They're recruiting more physicians so that will hopefully bring in more business so that the new patients coming in will have a physician to go to," Johnson said. "So at this point, we're hoping the short term losses can make up in long term gain."
Stevens also stressed the hospital is staying positive with the changes and keeping its staff aware of any changes.
"Our priority is patient care and none of these changes will affect our patient care in any way shape or form."