HCA's CEO donates salary to employee assistance fund as hospital system cuts hours

The CEO of major hospital system HCA Healthcare announced he will donate the next two months of salary to a fund to help system workers struggling with reduced hours during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The senior leadership team of the system also will take a 30% cut in pay for the duration of the pandemic, CEO Sam Hazen announced in a letter to employees Tuesday.

He added the board has waived cash compensation for the rest of the year.

The decision comes as some hospital systems across the country are reducing hours or furloughing workers due to low patient volumes and a lack of revenue from elective procedures that have been canceled.

HCA Healthcare, which has 184 hospitals, has had to reduce hours for employees.

“Many of our outpatient facilities, clinics and departments have closed,” Hazen wrote.

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Any employee that can’t be redeployed can be eligible for a pandemic pay program that continues paying 70% of their base salary for up to seven weeks.

“This is not a furlough,” Hazen said. “Instead, it is a pay continuation program to assist colleagues until we better understand the long-term implications of this pandemic on the organization.”

He added that the patient volume declines are likely temporary and that “we hope we can return to taking care of more patients sometime in May, which should lead to scheduling work for you.”

The HCA Healthcare Hope Fund helps with financial needs and also has counseling services.