Baptist Health to furlough some employees

Little Rock, Ark.-based Baptist Health is furloughing employees to remain financially stable as it focuses on treating COVID-19 patients, according to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

In a March 30 email to employees obtained by the newspaper, President and CEO Troy Wells said the furloughs are temporary. He said the health system has already reduced hours or eliminated shifts of some workers, but more cuts are needed because of decreased revenue. Baptist Health did not specify the number of people affected.

"As the pandemic has spread throughout our communities, people are doing the right thing by staying home," Mr. Wells wrote in his email, according to the Democrat-Gazette.

"As such there have been fewer people choosing to access the healthcare system," he added. "We've observed fewer people presenting to our emergency departments and more patients choosing to delay care. This was happening even before we made the decision to limit nonurgent procedures and surgeries. We are taking action to respond to these financial challenges and prepare for what we may face in the future."

Mr. Wells said executive and director salaries will also be "reduced for the coming months," and this week the system "will identify additional employees who will be furloughed on a temporary basis." Other steps Baptist Health is taking include suspending hiring of noncritical positions and postponing the health system's planned annual pay increase of 2.25 percent to workers.


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