Business

Elks Rehab to close hospital, lay off 516; St. Luke's to take over

Elks Rehab Hospital will soon be run by St. Luke's if an upcoming deal goes through. The hospital is dedicated to help patients rehabilitate and return to a normal life. Here,
Mark Trail gets help from physical therapist Ryan Donahue at the Idaho Elks Rehabilitation Hospital in Boise in 2009.
Elks Rehab Hospital will soon be run by St. Luke's if an upcoming deal goes through. The hospital is dedicated to help patients rehabilitate and return to a normal life. Here, Mark Trail gets help from physical therapist Ryan Donahue at the Idaho Elks Rehabilitation Hospital in Boise in 2009. Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

Elks Rehab Hospital is laying off more than 500 employees, with the expectation that St. Luke's Health System will hire about 400 of them later this year under a takeover deal.

Elks notified the Idaho Department of Labor late Thursday that it will lay off 516 employees statewide. Of those, 318 have been working in Boise.

The Statesman previously reported that Elks planned to shut down its health-care business and its Boise hospital, under an agreement with St. Luke's Health System. St. Luke's plans to take over the Elks services and hire Elks employees, officials said.

Elks Rehab System sent Boise Mayor David Bieter a letter Thursday to let him know that Elks will stop operating its hospital at 600 N. Robbins Road in Boise — and several offices around the Treasure Valley — as of Oct. 1.

The layoffs "are the result of discussions between Elks and St. Luke's ... through which Elks will discontinue operations as a healthcare provider and St. Luke's will simultaneously open a new rehabilitation service line," the letter said.

The employees of Elks will be laid off around Sept. 30, it said.

"However, it is anticipated that beginning Oct. 1 ... St. Luke's will operate the facilities and is expected to hire at least 80 percent of the current Elks employees," it said.

Elks Rehab System will offer severance benefits to laid off employees, the letter said.

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