Bon Secours, Boston Medical among hospitals forced to furlough workers due to COVID-19

Yawkey Ambulatory Care Center at Boston Medical Center
Health systems around the country have begun to furlough workers as they face a lack of cash due to the COVID-19 outbreak. (Courtesy of Boston Medical Center)

Hospitals and health systems have started to furlough workers and staff as they struggle with increased demand for services from COVID-19 and a lack of revenue from canceled elective procedures.

Some hospitals and systems are also implementing hiring freezes and not raising wages as they face the loss of revenue.

Here is a running list of hospitals and systems that have decided to furlough workers:

  • Bon Secours Mercy Health announced Tuesday it will furlough any staff that aren’t directly supporting the 43-hospital system’s response to COVID-19. The Cincinnati-based system also implemented a hiring freeze for any noncritical care positions and freezes any wage hikes.
  • Boston Medical Center is putting 700 employees—or about 10% of its workforce—on furlough, the Boston Globe reported.
  • St. Claire Healthcare announced last Thursday that it will furlough 300 workers out of its nearly 1,200 staff. The Kentucky-based healthcare system said that over the past 10 days it experienced a “drastic decline in patient visits, and we’re expecting the numbers to get worse before they get better."
  • Appalachian Regional Healthcare, also in Kentucky, announced Friday it will furlough 500 of the 13-hospital system’s 6,000 workers. The system will also temporarily close some clinics and outpatient centers. So far, the healthcare system has seen a 30% decrease in its overall business operations due to fewer patients coming in and the closure of “services related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” a release said. The system said that when it is safe for employees to resume work as normal and patient volumes increase they will bring employees back.
  • Baptist Health in Little Rock, Arkansas, will begin furloughing employees, Arkansas Business reported.

One health system that is bucking the trend is UPMC in Pittsburgh. The Tribune-Review reported the health system announced its employees will be paid their current rate for their normally scheduled hours, even if they are assigned to a different job during the COVID-19 pandemic, through May 9.

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