8 hospitals furloughing staff in response to COVID-19

Many U.S. hospitals and health systems have suspended elective procedures to save capacity, supplies and staff to treat COVID-19 patients.

As a result of suspending these nonemergent procedures, several systems have lost or expect to lose a large chunk of their annual revenue, forcing them to make cost-reduction a top priority. 

Below are eight hospitals that have furloughed staff in an effort to remain financially stable:

1. Burlington, Mass.-based Wellforce, which includes four community hospitals, one academic medical center and a children's hospital, has furloughed 719 workers, according to the Boston Business Journal. The affected employees will be furloughed for at least 90 days to help the system deal with the drastic volume decrease from suspending elective procedures. In addition, 1,236 employees will have their hours and pay reduced, according to the report.  

2. Citing financial uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare will furlough 500 workers. Affected employees are full-time staff not involved in clinical care. They will not receive pay, but will have health insurance.

3. Southbridge, Mass.-based Harrington Healthcare has furloughed 131 employees across its network this week, according to MassLive. About 20 of the 131 affected employees were "partially furloughed," meaning their hours were significantly reduced, according to the report. Chris Canniff, the company's vice president of administration and human resources, said the provider has seen a 50 percent decline in patient volume amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Furloughed employees will not be paid for four weeks.

4. Seattle-based Virginia Mason Medical Center said it has seen a 30 percent decline in revenue since the COVID-19 pandemic started and Gov. Jay Inslee ordered hospitals to suspend elective procedures. As a result, the system is furloughing an undisclosed number of employees, according to local station K5 News. Most of the affected employees are in nonclinical roles.

"We rely substantially on outpatient revenue to ensure our financial viability," wrote medical center executives in an internal memo to Virginia Mason leaders obtained by K5 News. "This is an unprecedented time and it calls for drastic measures."

5. Citing drastic revenue decreases and increased expenses, Columbus, Ohio-based Mount Carmel Health System will furlough nonclinical staff, according to ABC 6. The health system said fewer than 500 employees will be affected. The system employs more than 10,000. In addition to the furloughs, the health system is implementing pay cuts for executives and physicians, according to the report. 

6. Atlantic City, N.J.-based AtlantiCare has furloughed some of its workers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to NJ.com. In addition, the system has asked staff members, including nurses and physicians, to voluntarily take a furlough or a reduction in their hours, according to Press of Atlantic City. The staffing changes began taking place March 30. The changes are considered temporary, and affected employees will keep their benefits. 

7. Citing a drop in patient revenue due to government mandates to help the COVID-19 pandemic, Dayton, Ohio-based Kettering Health Network is placing some of its employees on furlough, according to the Dayton Business Journal. 

8. New Bedford, Mass.-based Southcoast Health will furlough some staff not actively involved in patient care efforts because the health system is absorbing a deep revenue hit, according to Southcoast Today. The health system will pay a portion of furloughed employees' insurance premiums through June 30.  

More articles on healthcare finance:

Bon Secours Mercy Health to furlough 700, estimates $100M monthly operating loss
Steward Health Care: 'We are experiencing a seismic shock' from COVID-19
Nonprofit hospitals vulnerable to coronavirus-related market fallout, Fitch says

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