UVM Health Network cuts physicians' benefits to save money

Burlington-based University of Vermont Health Network is cutting physicians' vacation and retirement benefits to help offset losses from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to VTDigger.

The newspaper reports 900 physicians across the University of Vermont Medical Center and five other network hospitals will not accrue vacation time or receive an employer match for their retirement benefits, effective July 1 for three months. The network projects to save $7.9 million with the changes, through Sept. 30. 

The changes to physician retirement and vacation accrual come as the network aims to address revenue losses and adjust staffing to meet lower patient demand during the pandemic. As of June 24, the network projects to lose $192 million in revenue in fiscal year 2020 and has received $101 million in federal funding so far to offset losses, said spokesperson Annie Mackin.

Network officials have also taken various steps to address losses, including furloughs; freezing most fiscal year 2020 capital spending; reducing base pay for leaders across the network; eliminating employer retirement benefit contributions for leaders (directors and above); eliminating performance-based compensation for leaders (directors and above) and physicians; and implementing a temporary hiring freeze.

Ms. Mackin said furloughs have been fluctuating with patient volume. The network reported 519 furloughed employees June 24, which includes 157 employees who were redeployed and are currently working in other jobs.

Overall, the network projects to save $54 million in fiscal year 2020 through furloughs and other cost-cutting measures. Its current projected fiscal year 2020 revenue loss with federal funding and savings from cost-cutting measures considered is $37 million.


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