Appalachian Regional Healthcare furloughs 500 employees

Appalachian Regional Healthcare, a 13-hospital system in Lexington, Ky., will furlough about 500 employees due to a sharp reduction in business and revenue, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear ordered hospitals in the state to suspend elective procedures March 23 to preserve protective equipment and bed space for COVID-19 patients. As a result, the hospital system has seen a 30 percent decrease in business, according to the report. 

Appalachian Regional said its decision to temporarily reduce staff was to protect employees not involved in direct patient care from contracting the novel virus and ensure that the health system has enough supplies to treat the anticipated surge of COVID-19 patients. 

“As healthcare providers, we are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic and need to do everything we can to ensure we have the right clinical resources in place, including staff, supplies and equipment, to prepare for a COVID-19 patient surge," Sonya Bergman, Appalachian Regional's vice president of human resources, told the publication.

The furloughs are expected to be temporary. Affected staff will still have health insurance during the furlough.

Another Kentucky hospital in Morehead, St. Claire HealthCare, took a similar step this week, furloughing 300 of its staff members due to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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