'We are planning for a new normal': Providence Oregon to furlough staff, cut exec pay

Providence Oregon will implement staff furloughs and leadership pay cuts to help offset financial losses attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Portland-based health system announced May 12.

The health system said its core leaders will take a one-week unpaid furlough between May 17 and July 31. In addition, caregivers will flex their hours during the same time period. The hours will be flexed based on patient volume, according to the news release. 

Furloughed employees will retain healthcare benefits and can apply for unemployment. In addition, affected caregivers can use their paid time off.

Providence also plans to implement pay cuts — ranging from 5 percent to 50 percent — for senior leaders. 

"We are planning for a new normal to ensure financial stability in the months ahead. We are doing all we can to ensure the highest safety precautions are in place for all of our services as we reach out to patients to ensure they do not delay needed care," said Lisa Vance, CEO of Providence Oregon. 

The health system said that complying with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's order to suspend non-critical surgeries to prepare for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients caused low patient volumes and a revenue drop. In addition, preparation also added expenses for Providence. For example, Providence paid more for protective gear and saw a sharp increase in pharmaceutical demand and costs.

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