Additional Hospital System Layoffs Point Out Just How Uncertain the Future Is

The already tumultuous hospital systems have gotten more so over the past few months. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of non-emergency procedures and led to a number of providers heading online to see patients, rather than having them come in for appointments. Patients canceled many routine appointments as well, hoping to wait out the pandemic in the hopes that it would wane. All of this led to financial issues for many hospitals around the United States. With the pandemic still in full swing, many of the hospitals that furloughed employees back in March or April are now laying them off, rather than having them come back to work.

22 Hospital Systems That Laid-Off Workers

According to sources, more than 260 hospitals in the U.S. furloughed workers this spring to help offset financial losses attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, several of those hospitals have been forced to lay off furloughed workers permanently. Here are 22 of them:

1. Cape Cod Healthcare (Hyannis, Mass.). Cape Cod Healthcare furloughed 595 employees in May due to reduced patient volumes and financial losses related to the pandemic. On Aug. 28, the health system announced that it had recalled 477 of the 595 furloughed workers, and 118 will be laid off.

2. Cape Fear Valley Health (Fayetteville, N.C.). The health system furloughed 783 employees this spring to help offset financial damage from the COVID-19 pandemic. As of late July, Cape Fear Valley Health had brought back 721 furloughed employees and the remaining 62 employees were laid off, according to the health system.

3. Catholic Medical Center (Manchester, N.H.). In April, the hospital furloughed 423 employees after canceling elective procedures to save staff and supplies for COVID-19 patients. It also reduced hours for 914 other employees. In late July, the hospital permanently laid off 50 furloughed employees, as well as another 21 employees who weren’t on furlough.

4. Children’s Mercy (Kansas City, Mo.). The hospital furloughed 575 employees on April 26 and has since brought back all but 60 employees. For those eligible, severance packages will be made available. We are deeply grateful for their contributions to Children’s Mercy and the patients and families they have served,” a June 22 letter to employees read.

5. Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center (Ogdensburg, N.Y.). In April, about 175 of the medical center’s 850 employees were affected by salary reductions, reduced hours or unpaid leave. A spokesperson for the medical center provided Becker’s with the following statement Sept. 3: “We have been able to return all but 4 percent of our workforce to employment and restore salaries to pre-COVID levels. Nearly half of the layoffs are employees on unpaid leave. Other positions that have remained open or unfilled at this time have also been eliminated, but have not affected current employees. These changes came into effect around July 31.”

6. Erlanger Health System (Chattanooga, Tenn.). Erlanger Health System said in March it was implementing a cost-reduction plan that included furloughs and pay reductions for leadership. The health system ended its furloughs June 22, but had to lay off 93 workers who were previously furloughed across the health system, a spokesperson confirmed to Becker’s Sept. 2.

7. Evangelical Community Hospital (Lewisburg, Pa.). In March, Evangelical Community Hospital furloughed 250 employees, including 173 full or part-time employees and 77 per diem employees. Nine full and part-time employees were laid off and seven full and part-time employees retired. As of Sept. 8, 155 full and part-time employees have been recalled and the per diem employees are used as needed, a hospital spokesperson said.

8. Halifax Health (Daytona Beach, Fla.). In April, the health system furloughed nearly 400 staff members and required all nonclinical staff take one day off per week. In July, Halifax laid off 95 of the furloughed workers. Employees no longer had to take one day of paid time off each week as of July 1, and employees who took a pay cut instead of paid days off had their salaries restored. All furloughed workers unaffected by the layoffs returned to work Aug. 3, Halifax told Becker’s. 

9. Hillcrest HealthCare System (Tulsa, Okla.). Hillcrest HealthCare System said in April it would furlough 600 employees for up to 90 days. The furloughs affected about 9 percent of staff and were a result of a decline in routine and elective procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A hospital spokesperson told Becker’s Sept. 1: “We made the difficult decision to reduce staffing in some areas across our system as part of a strategic restructuring due to the devastating impact from COVID-19. While the reduction represents less than 1 percent of our workforce, it does not make the decision any less difficult or impactful to those team members affected.”

10. Hospital Sisters Health System (Springfield, Ill.). Hospital Sisters Health System furloughed a portion of its staff in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In August, the health system announced plans to reduce its workforce by 10 percent. The reductions include some of those who were furloughed.

11. Lawrence (La.) General Hospital. In early April, Lawrence General placed 8 percent of its staff, or 160 employees, on a four-week furlough. Most of the furloughs affected nonclinical workers. The hospital told Becker’s Sept. 2 that the safety-net facility had to extend the furloughs for four more weeks to address the volume dip and subsequent revenue loss attributed to the pandemic. Although most of the furloughed workers returned to work June 15, 10 furloughed positions were eliminated, and a few employees remained on furlough until July 15. Now, those workers are back.

12. Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital (Grand Rapids, Mich.). The hospital furloughed 32 percent of its staff members in April, affecting 603 employees. As of Aug. 31, 512 employees had returned, 34 remained furloughed and 57 were terminated, a hospital representative told Becker’s Sept. 1.

13. Maury Regional Health (Columbia, Tenn.). Maury Regional Health implemented two rounds of furloughs this spring that affected 414 employees; the first round affected 340 employees. Of the 414 employees affected, 287 staff members were called back to work, and 127 employees were laid off, a hospital spokesperson told Becker’s Sept. 2.

14. Mid-Columbia Medical Center (Dalles, Ore.). The medical center began furloughing employees May 3, primarily from affected departments that were not seeing a lot of patients. A Mid-Columbia Medical Center spokesperson told Becker’s the medical center has brought back all of its furloughed staff members, except for those who worked within its spa services, which have been closed due to financial instability.

15. Melissa Memorial Hospital (Holyoke, Colo.). Melissa Memorial Hospital, a 15-bed critical access hospital with about 100 employees, placed 19 employees on furlough this spring due to a reduction in volume amid the pandemic. The hospital had a layered approach to cost reduction, as some employees were on reduced hours or furloughed, and managers volunteered to take pay cuts. Cathy Harshbarger, BSN, RN, the hospital’s CEO, confirmed with Becker’s that due to restructuring to respond to the pandemic, eight employees were laid off, and the remaining employees were brought back to work. Terminated employees were offered a severance package.

16. Mercy Medical Center (Canton, Ohio.). Mercy Medical Center began implementing furloughs in March. The system placed 349 employees on full furlough and 376 employees on partial furlough. As of Sept. 3, 15 employees remain on full furlough, two remain on partial furlough, and 19 employee positions were eliminated, according to a hospital spokesperson.

17. North Bend Medical Center (Coos Bay, Ore.). North Bend Medical Center this spring furloughed 130 employees. According to John Burles, North Bend Medical Center CEO, most of the furloughed workers have been called back to work, but about 30 did not return.

18. St. Lawrence Health System (Potsdam, N.Y). The three-hospital system temporarily furloughed 427 workers in April. By the end of June, 25 of those positions were permanently eliminated, all of which were full-time and primarily at the management level.

19.Thomas Health (South Charleston, W.Va.). Thomas Health, which had 1,663 employees at the start of the pandemic, furloughed 584 of those staff members. Due to attrition and reorganization, the health system brought back all but 80 employees, a Thomas Health spokesperson told Becker’s Sept. 2. “Since then, we have already hired 50 new full-time employees,” the spokesperson added.

20. Trinity Health (Livonia, Mich.), which includes Trinity Health of New England (Hartford, Conn.). Trinity Health, a 92-hospital system, implemented furloughs across its network. At its Michigan hospitals, 2,500 employees were furloughed this spring, while an undisclosed number of employees were furloughed at Trinity Health of New England. In July, the health system said it would lay off and reduce work schedules of 1,000 employees. A Trinity Health spokesperson told Becker’s Sept. 3: “Our staffing reductions were less than 3 percent of our workforce nationally, which is much lower than we originally anticipated would be required due to stronger-than-expected resurgence of patient volume. Many furloughed colleagues have either returned to work or are anticipated to return to work as patient volumes grow.”

21. University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus (Topeka). The University of Kansas Health System in April laid off 29 employees and furloughed 235. In mid-June, the health system restructured and consolidated some services and laid off 33 employees to manage the effect of COVID-19. The 33 affected employees represent about 2.3 percent of the hospital’s workforce, and most had already been put on furlough.

22. UW Medicine (Seattle). UW Medicine announced furloughs of approximately 1,500 professional and non-union staff members and 4,000 union employees in May. It also announced layoffs of 100 staff members in July due to financial challenges from the pandemic.

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