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2 more Upstate hospitals furlough employees

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Saturday, April 11, 2020

Two more Upstate hospitals announced Friday temporary furloughs as a result of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Prisma Health announced furloughs in March, and as of Friday furloughed or reduced hours for about 3,900 of 30,000 employees.

AnMed and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System announced their expense-cutting moves.

AnMed Health announced temporary furloughs and a reduction of leadership and management salaries will begin April 19 and may last for up to three months. Some employees would be affected and other staff adjustments in both non-clinical and clinical areas that have seen a decrease in demand for services,” according to the announcement. No definitive number of employees were announced.

“Elective surgeries and physician office visits have decreased dramatically, leading to a significant loss of revenue. At the same time, we are developing plans to meet surge demands for COVID-19 patients in the weeks ahead,” the announcement stated.

Affected employees will have access to insurance benefits and can apply for unemployment, officials said.

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System has already adjusted its staff reductions by flexing hours, cutting non-labor expenses and reducing the salaries of all management.

“The overriding focus is to maintain and support our frontline caregivers while addressing the realities of areas with low to no service demand,” CEO Bruce Holstien said. “These are non-permanent and temporary measures that are anticipated ending no later than June 6. We will get past this, recover and move forward ever stronger as a community and as a healthcare system.”

SRHS is redeploying staff, temporary furloughs and flexed work hours to mitigate the effects of reduced volumes.

Last week, the Spartanburg Regional Foundation designated $2 million to establish a COVID-19 Fund to support the needs of SRHS staff and patient care during this difficult period.

Prisma Health spokeswoman Sandy Dees said the COVID-19 public health emergency has had a significant impact on the hospital systems' finances and operations. Elective surgeries are down 80%, physician office visits down 40%, and March net revenue down 25% from budget, according to Dees. Other actions included:

  • Prisma took immediate action in freezing capital spending, curtailing spending on non-patient care items, and furloughing staff not directly involved in caring for COVID-19 patients and other clinical business within our facilities.
  • Prisma has furloughed or reduced hours for approximately 3,900 of 30,000 employees
    • 63% were furloughed
    • 37% are working reduced schedules
  • Furloughed employees can use their PTO banks, and are eligible for unemployment benefits due to the changes the federal government made for this pandemic
  • Furloughed employees can be immediately recalled if needed
  • “After the COVID-19 crisis passes, we will resume normal operations and recall staff, starting with those needed to serve patients who have delayed their non-emergent medical needs,” Dees said. “We will then recall others as the situation dictates.”

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