Wellstar furloughs 1,070 workers

Citing a financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, Marietta, Ga.-based Wellstar Health System has furloughed 1,070 workers through July 31, according to CBS46.

In addition to the furloughs, the health system will reduce the hours of another 1,800 employees. The furloughs affect about 4.4 percent of the health system's workforce of 24,300, and the hour reduction will affect 7.6 percent. 

Affected employees will retain their healthcare benefits. 

Wellstar said it is anticipating a $400 million to $600 million loss in 2020, according to The Marietta Daily Journal. The loss was mainly attributed to reduced patient volume. However, it also includes increased expenses for buying protective gear. 

Wellstar CFO Jim Budzinski said the expected loss "represents two-and-a-half to three years of our normal operating income."

"Many people may not really understand how a health system could be suffering financially during this time when healthcare is so vital," Mr. Budzinski told The Marietta Daily Journal, "yet there are many other services we provide ... that have seen a severe drop in patient volume since mid-March."

Wellstar has already implemented other cost-cutting measures before implementing furloughs, including executive and physician pay cuts, contract labor eliminations and hiring freezes. 

More articles on healthcare finance: 
Mass General Brigham posts $1.6B loss in Q2
New York hospital lays off 70 after denial of federal funding
Hospitals blast CMS decision to double down on price transparency

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