Update: Employees at Lauderdale Community Hospital told WREG they were paid Friday morning. We have also heard that local leaders are planning to have a sit down with the owner of the hospital next week to discuss the problems.
RIPLEY, Tenn. — More bad news for employees at Lauderdale Community Hospital in Ripley, where employees have not received a paycheck for two weeks.
For a moment Thursday it looked like they might be getting paid, but workers will have to keep waiting for their pay.
WREG received several emails from employees concerned about what’s going on at the facility, which is about 60 miles north of Memphis. It turns out Lauderdale Community Hospital has some big money problems.
“Over the last couple of weeks we’ve had some delays in payroll,” said Michael Layfield, CEO of the hospital. “We have never not met payroll.”
Thursday morning it seemed Layfield was going to spread some Christmas cheer through the hospital’s halls.
“I am assured today by Jorge Perez, who is my direct boss, that payroll will be made today,” he said.
Perez, who heads up Empower HMS, owns Lauderdale Community Hospital.
But we dug deeper and found some more disturbing news: According to records, for the tax years 2016 through 2018, Lauderdale Community owes the city of Ripley $186,709.00 in back taxes. It also owes $164,985.50 in back taxes to Lauderdale County.
And it just keeps getting worse for workers.
By mid-day Thursday they were once again informed they would not be getting paid, at least not that day.
“It’s not right to let them go without pay,” said Brian Waits, whose wife is a nurse at the hospital. “And I just feel like Mr. Perez needs to have a heart and do what’s right and get these employees paid.”
Waits said the family needs the money as the holidays approach.
The security staff has been eliminated, the cafeteria is closed to employees and 28 people have been laid off as the hospital goes through restructuring.
One woman, who didn’t want her face shown, said she hasn’t received her last paycheck from before she was laid off.
“Yep, I got laid off and we hadn’t even got our checks yet. Supposed to got paid last Friday and we hadn’t even got them yet.”
Layfield says the hospital, like many across the country, is struggling but there are no plans to close the facility.
But Waits wonders how long families can go with their money.
“I’m not going to name names, but some of these employees have had to borrow money to pay bills. So it’s digging them into a deeper hole.”
WREG reached out to Empower HMS to find out when employees would be getting paid, but we have not heard back from them.