A medical equipment company founded in Bakersfield nearly four decades ago will lay off 170 employees in July.
Pacific Pulmonary Services notified the Kern County Board of Supervisors of the proposed layoff in a May 12 letter.
According to the Pacific Pulmonary website, the company started in Bakersfield in 1978 under the name Med-Mart. It operated as a medical equipment company.
Med-Mart was purchased in 1996 by Braden Partners and renamed Pacific Pulmonary.
It is currently based in Novato.
The company now focuses on supporting home oxygen equipment and respiratory medications, according to the website.
Currently, the company profile states, Pacific Pulmonary operates a sleep therapy center, a “nebulized medication pharmacy” and a billing and reimbursement office in Bakersfield.
“Neither the company not the Bakersfield office is closing as part of this reduction in force,” the letter from Pacific Pulmonary CEO Josh Parnes to the county stated.
A call to the company’s human resources contact was not immediately returned on Tuesday.
A full list of the jobs that will be eliminated in Bakersfield was included in Parnes’ letter.
It includes a host of clerical and logistical jobs as well as respiratory specialists, auditors, financial services employees and the company’s director of pharmacy and strategic initiatives.
Layoffs are scheduled to happen between July 7 and July 21.
According to an April 26 story in the San Francisco Chronicle, Pacific Pulmonary recently settled a lawsuit brought against it by the U.S. Justice Department.
The suit, the story states, alleged that Pacific Pulmonary submitted claims to several federal programs including Medicare without the proper authorization of a doctor.
It was also accused of operating a kick-back scheme where the company would refer patients to testing clinics in exchange for having the patients referred back to Pacific Pulmonary for equipment, the story stated.
Pacific Pulmonary, as part of the settlement, was not required to admit to any wrongdoing, the Chronicle reported.
It is uncertain if the settlement had any impact on the company’s decision to lay off employees in Bakersfield.