Trinity Health latest major hospital system to furlough workers due to COVID-19 cash crisis

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Trinity Health became the latest hospital to install furloughs for nonessential workers due to the lack of cash caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Pixabay)

Trinity Health announced it will implement furloughs across its vast 92-hospital system in the coming weeks, becoming the latest large health system to lose staff.

The Catholic healthcare system announced Thursday that it is taking a series of steps to shore up hospitals financially as the COVID-19 outbreak has caused patient volumes to plummet as well as lost revenue from elective surgeries.

Trinity said it plans to implement furloughs in the coming weeks “for some colleagues who do not have work that is directly related to the most critical needs during this pandemic.”

The system didn’t give a number of the workers who will be furloughed, but some hospitals are already starting to shed staff. Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, which are the Michigan region of Trinity and comprise eight hospitals, announced Wednesday they will furlough 2,500 employees, according to a report from Mlive.com.

The workers represent about 10% of the total workforce for the system, according to the article.

Trinity said Thursday that the vast majority of its 125,000 staff will continue to work full time, but some may be redeployed. Trinity said in its statement that it is reducing any discretionary spending, and any capital expenditures have been frozen except to support local hospitals.

Senior leaders are taking 15% to 25% pay cuts, and President and CEO Mike Slubowski is taking a 50% cut.

“Our mission calls us to ensure we remain viable during and after this pandemic, and our communities are depending on us," Slubowski said.

Trinity isn’t the only hospital system to furlough workers while systems face the COVID-19 pandemic. Bon Secours Mercy Health and Boston Medical have been forced to furlough staff and implement hiring freezes.

Large hospital system Tenet Healthcare also announced Thursday it will furlough 500 workers and threw out its 2020 corporate earnings guidance because of COVID-19.

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