SSM Health to furlough 2,000 employees

To help minimize the financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, St. Louis-based SSM Health plans to furlough 2,000 employees and freeze executive compensation, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 

The furloughs, expected to last at least 13 weeks, will affect about 5 percent of the health system's workforce. The health system said it also plans to place more workers on partial furlough, or reduce their hours. 

Affected employees can apply for federal and state unemployment, according to NBC 15. 

SSM Health also said it would give employees a one-time "return-to-work asjustment" to make up the difference in pay if an employee is not reimbursed their full base salary through the unemployment programs. 

"We hope these payments will help alleviate any financial burden this situation may place on our employees and their loved ones," SSM Health said in a news release.

The 23-hospital system said the furloughs are necessary because patient volume has decreased by about 50 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Additionally to help shore up finances, SSM Health has frozen executive compensation, will defer noncritical capital projects, and will not fill open positions deemed not critical to patient care.  

More articles on healthcare finance:
LRGHealthcare's debt making it harder to find a partner, CEO says
39 hospitals get negative rating outlook from S&P amid pandemic
Anne Arundel Medical Center furloughs 1,000

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