ALAMEDA COUNTY -- Alameda Health System is preparing to lay off dozens of nurses and other medical workers at its 475-bed public health care system, including at its flagship Highland Hospital in Oakland and the John George Psychiatric Hospital near San Leandro.

Workers began receiving pink slips this week after the system's board of directors approved a reorganization late last month. The notices told workers their last day would be Sept. 26.

About 57 workers "could be laid off but we are working hard to find positions for them," said health system spokeswoman Jerri Applegate Randrup, who said some of the workers might be able to shift to the same jobs or part-time work as the hospital network braces for major organizational changes.

The layoffs come as the 3,000-employee health system, formerly known as the Alameda County Medical Center, is preparing to add another two hospitals into its fold.

Nonprofit provider Sutter Health signed an agreement last week to donate the 93-bed San Leandro Hospital to the countywide hospital system in October, and the directors of Alameda Hospital have also signed a letter of intent to explore a similar deal.

Randrup said the hospital network is also gearing up for health coverage changes that arrive Oct. 1 when enrollment begins for President Barack Obama's national health care law, the Affordable Care Act.

The layoff notices arrived at all seven Alameda Health System locations this week: Highland Hospital, the John George Psychiatric Hospital, Fairmont Hospital and wellness clinics in Hayward, Newark and East Oakland.


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Those likely to lose their jobs include charge nurses, licensed vocational nurses and health educators who teach how to quit smoking and prevent diabetes.

Management has held a dozen meetings in recent weeks with the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, the union representing the workers, Randrup said.

Contact Matt O'Brien at 510-208-6429. Follow him at Twitter.com/Mattoyeah.