873 Lee Health workers apply for voluntary buyouts, sign up for sabbaticals

Of about 14,000 Lee Health employees, 873 have applied for voluntary buyouts and signed up for a summer leave program offered by the Fort Myers, Fla.-based health system.

Lee Health said 602 employees applied for the exit program and 271 signed up for sabbaticals.  

In May, the health system announced the offerings to help offset losses from COVID-19 pandemic.

Spokesperson Jon Little said most, but not all, of the health system's employees were eligible for the programs; the policy would  ensure Lee Health could maintain adequate operational staffing levels.

For employees who choose and are selected to take the voluntary buyout, Lee Health will terminate their employment and offer a separation package. The separation package is based on the employee's years of service and role.

Employees who sign up for summer sabbaticals will take four to six weeks off from work during the summer. Employees can use their paid time off to cover their sabbatical or it will be unpaid.

Mr. Little said Lee Health had previously projected a $50 million to $75 million operating loss by the end of September. At the end of May, the health system's losses were $47 million, he said.

"We took quick action to reduce expenses once we voluntarily reduced elective surgeries and routine services," he told Becker's Hospital Review. "There is a lot of uncertainty about the future because of COVID-19, but now that we are phasing elective surgeries and routine services back in, our financial situation is stabilizing."  


More articles on healthcare finance:
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$30B for hospital upgrades included in $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill
U of Iowa Hospitals workers to give up PTO or take furloughs to offset losses

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