Hospitals in Ohio, Oregon furlough employees amid COVID-19 pandemic

Citing the spreading and unforgiving demands of the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals in Ohio and Oregon have furloughed workers. 

Astoria, Ore.-based Columbia Memorial Hospital has furloughed 90 of its 740 employees after the facility scaled back nonemergent procedures to concentrate on the coronavirus, according to the Daily Astorian.

“The business model we were working from last month is no longer appropriate, and we are forced to make some incredibly difficult choices," Erik Thorsen, Columbia Memorial’s CEO, told the Daily Astorian. However, he said that "these employees can rest assured they will be called back when this pandemic is over."

Columbia Memorial said the furloughs only affect employees who do not directly work in patient care. The employees will receive three weeks of pay and benefits.

In addition, Canton, Ohio-based Mercy Medical Center has furloughed workers shortly after the state ordered hospitals to suspend elective surgeries and procedures to free up capacity and supplies to treat COVID-19 patients, according to The Canton Rep. 

"This order has a significant impact on our hospital and caregivers, requiring the temporary reduction of staffing," Cindy Hickey, vice president for public relations and marketing at Mercy Medical Center, told The Canton Rep.

The furloughs are expected to be temporary and workers are leaving with an expectation that they will be called back to work if there is a surge in COVID-19 cases or when Mercy can perform elective procedures.

Mercy Medical Center said it is doing its best to balance the "unforgiving demands of coronavirus disease 2019." 

All affected employees will still be eligible to receive full benefits. They were also presented with several furlough options, including using paid time off, according to the report. 

More articles on healthcare finance: 
Pennsylvania hospital needs $40M or it will close April 1
Hospitals face financial fallout from COVID-19: 6 things to know
West Virginia hospital closes despite pleas to stay open during COVID-19 outbreak

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