Willis-Knighton Health System places employees on leave amid low patient volume

Willis-Knighton Health System in Shreveport, La., confirmed it placed employees on leave due to low patient volume and the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement provided to Becker's Hospital Review, Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crawford said a state directive to restrict hospital procedures to emergent only and the effects of the pandemic left services at more than half of Willis-Knighton significantly reduced or halted. 

The leave is "necessary in the face of significant financial losses since mid-March to date, to ensure economic stability of the health system throughout and at the conclusion of this event — which at this point, a time is still uncertain," said Mr. Crawford.   

He said the leave affects a small number of staff and areas where the health system found a lower or nonexistent demand for services. Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other personnel working on the front lines of the public health crisis were not affected.  

Since the initial state order, Louisiana now allows "time-sensitive procedures," resulting in some workers affected by the leave to return to work, said Mr. Crawford.

When asked how many of Willis-Knighton's 7,800 employees are still on leave, a spokesperson said, "that fluctuates day to day, week to week."

Mr. Crawford said the health system hopes all patient services will return to full operation as the number of COVID-19 cases decline.  

"These have been difficult decisions but are not expected to be long-term," he added. "The pandemic created by COVID-19 has had a devastating impact not only in our community and state but across our entire country and the world, and it is the hope and desire of the Willis-Knighton Health System to have all affected members of our employee family back to work as soon as possible."         


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