Hospitals Begin Placing Non-Essential Staff Members on Furloughs

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals are trimming costs and reducing potential exposure by placing non-essential staff members on furloughs. Only time will tell whether or not this will help in the long run, as far as the hospitals’ financial status is concerned. Here are 12 such hospitals in the United States, clustered throughout the midwest, northeast, and south, that have made these actions within the past weeks.

The Midwest

According to sources, “Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health plans to furlough 2,500 employees. The system made the decision to help offset the financial hit from COVID-19. Most of the affected employees are in nonclinical roles. Citing a revenue hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, Cincinnati-based Bon Secours Mercy Health will furlough 700 employees and freeze wages of all nonclinical personnel. The furloughs are expected to begin next week and last 30 to 90 days, depending on how long the pandemic lasts, according to Bon Secours Mercy Health CEO John Starcher. Bon Secours Mercy Health estimates it will see an operating loss of at least $100 million per month while the pandemic lasts.”

“Citing a severe disruption in services due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Duluth, Minn.-based Essentia Healthhas placed about 500 nonclinical staff on administrative leave. Clay County Medical Center, a 25-bed hospital in Clay Center, Kan., has furloughed 25 percent of its staff in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Clay Center Dispatch. It has about 300 employees, according to its website.”

The Northeast

“Boston Medical Center is furloughing 700 staff members, or 10 percent of its workforce, due to financial losses from the COVID-19 pandemic. Kate Walsh, CEO of Boston Medical Center, told The Globe that the hospital has lost about $5 million in revenue per week and that the furloughs will help save the system about $1 million per week.”

“Hartford-based Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is furloughing 400 employees across its system due to the expected financial hit from COVID-19, according to The Hartford Courant. The system said its patient volume has been cut in half due to halting elective procedures. Furloughed employees are mainly nonclinical workers, and are expected to return to work in early June, or when elective procedures can resume.”

“Syracuse, N.Y.-based St. Joseph Health plans to furlough an undisclosed number of workers as it prepares to deal with an ‘unprecedented fiscal fallout’ from the COVID-19 pandemic, reports. St. Joseph Health will also cut pay for senior management.”

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The South

“Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tenn., will temporarily furlough 200 employees to sustain its financial resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dallas-basedSteward Health Care is informing employees to expect furloughs at its facilities across the U.S. as the system works to overcome the “seismic shock” of the COVID-19 pandemic. The health system said it has started a temporary furlough program for some employees of its hospitals in nine states. Most affected staff work in nonclinical jobs.”

“Huntsville (Ala.) Hospital, faced with expenses and a loss of revenue due to the novel coronavirus, has implemented a cost reduction plan that includes furloughs, according to Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers declined to share specifics about the number of staff members affected but said the furloughs and cuts are mainly hospital contractors and support staff.”

“Baptist Health in Little Rock, Ark., has started furloughing an undisclosed number of employees this week to address an expected revenue loss from the pandemic. Little Rock-based Arkansas Heart Hospital has furloughed workers due to the interruption of normal hospital operations.”

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