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The Detroit Medical Center will be closing a suburban surgery hospital following flood damage at the facility, resulting in the layoff of 127 employees.

The DMC Surgery Hospital in Madison Heights will close starting Oct. 3, leaving dozens of nurses, dieticians, technicians and support staff without jobs. The total closure of the hospital is expected to be completed by Oct. 10.

"The action is expected to be permanent in the sense that the DMC does not expect to recall the affected employees to their current positions for a considerable period of time," Hakim Berry, director of Labor and Employee Relations, said in a notification letter Monday to the state of Michigan.

The hospital has been closed for construction since last month's record flooding that saw 5 inches of rain fall on much of Metro Detroit in as many hours.

According to Berry's letter, employees do not have to be given advance notice of the closure because it is "due to the form of a natural disaster." The letter said DMC will work to find alternate employment at other network locations.

Among those being laid off are 17 mental health technicians, six dietary aides, eight housekeeping aides and 30 staff nurses.

Berry did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

The closure is unexpected because of a deal the DMC made in 2011 when it was bought out by Vanguard Health Systems and became a for-profit hospital. The deal assured that no DMC hospitals would be allowed to close once the system was purchased.

Joe Walsh, the president of the Legacy DMC Board, which oversees changes to the system, said the DMC Surgery Hospital in Madison Heights was already going to be phased out and converted to an urgent care facility.

He said it was never one of the hospitals promised to be kept open, and instead has always been run as a satellite facility.

As for the flooding, "we were aware that the building was extensively damaged during the flood and was essentially closed down to patients because of the damage," Walsh said.

"There is probably nothing the board can do at this point," he said.

According to Berry's letter, employees are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. No one from the local chapter of the labor union returned a request for comment Tuesday.

lrazzaq@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2127

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