CORTLAND, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Your Stories Team has an update on the WellNow Urgent Care in Cortland.
The office is dark, the doors are locked and a sign at the entrance reads, “temporarily closed.”
The YS Team spoke with two former employees, who said the staff of five was terminated and the office shutdown on March 8, 2023.
The employees said there was no warning from WellNow before being let go. One of the former workers said she was still waiting to receive her final paycheck.
This Cortland location off NY 222, near the Burger King, opened in February of last year. It operated as a COVID-19 testing center.
In January, the YS Team was asked by a viewer if the location had plans to become a full-service urgent care. A WellNow spokesperson told us then, staffing challenges were prohibiting it from operating at full capacity, and it was actively hiring to fill vacancies.
Closed for good or temporarily?
One of the former workers, who asked not to have their named used for this article, said they believed the Cortland closure was for good. A WellNow spokesperson said that’s not the case.
“Our intention is to re-open the Cortland location with full services as soon as possible; however, we do not have specific timing yet,” A WellNow spokesperson said via email.
The YS Team asked why the company terminated employees if it’s actively looking to fill roles to re-open the site.
“There is currently a shortage of Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in New York, which are vital roles in being able to offer a full range of urgent care services,” A WellNow spokesperson said.
One of the former employees said the cuts in Cortland did not include nurse practitioners or physician assistants. Adding that, the Cortland location used traveling nurse practitioners and physicians assistants who would visit several WellNow locations.
According to the former employees we spoke with, WellNow made staffing cuts in other New York locations and in other states. WellNow did not give a specific number when it came to company-wide cuts.
“We are committed to providing the highest quality care and experience for our patients, which includes adjusting our staffing model at each center as appropriate to meet essential patient care needs. In evaluating our post-pandemic needs, we recently had to make some difficult organizational decisions that impacted staff at some of our locations,” A WellNow spokesperson said in an email to the YS Team.
Full Statement from WellNow Urgent Care on Cortland’s “temporary” closing:
We continue to evaluate our staffing needs in a post-pandemic world. Regarding our Cortland location specifically, as you can imagine, COVID-19 testing needs have changed dramatically and a significant shortage of healthcare providers throughout NY state has made it difficult to add additional services at this time. Right now, plans are in the works to open the Cortland location as soon as possible with full services. Patients in need of urgent care services are encouraged to visit one of our other locations in Central New York or start a virtual visit with a provider 24/7 at https://www.wellnow.com/services/wellnow-virtual-medical/.
Making decisions that impact our employees and their livelihoods is never easy and something we don’t take lightly. We are doing everything possible to support impacted team members during this transition.