St. Charles Health System executives take pay cut, offer employees time off

Bend, Ore.-based St. Charles Health System said executives are taking pay cuts to help address financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. Charles is reducing executives' salaries by 10 percent, effective June 1 through the end of the year. 

"We need to take action to improve our financial stability, but we are absolutely committed to doing that in ways that have the least impact on our caregivers," president and CEO Joe Sluka said in a news release. "COVID-19 has changed our lives in ways we couldn't have imagined just a few months ago, but by working together we will get through this and come out stronger on the other side."

The health system also said it will let employees volunteer for a temporary reduction in hours, unpaid time off or a summer sabbatical. Approval will be based on such factors as position and department needs.

Employees who do not directly care for patients will be required to use earned time off or unpaid time off during extended closures around the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

By mid-June, the health system said it will return to staffing based on the number of patients.

The changes come after St. Charles reported a $39 million loss in patient revenue between March and early May due to canceled elective surgeries and reduced patient visits. It also increased spending by about $6.5 million to plan and prepare for COVID-19 and — with community help — established a fund to pay bonuses to front-line workers. 

St. Charles said it has been able to slowly expand its surgical and procedural volume with state guidance and aims to break even for two months by the end of this year. Still, the organization projects it could lose more than $50 million in 2020 due to COVID-19.

St. Charles has 4,500 employees. 


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