Baptist Health Furloughing Some Employees, Cutting Pay Amid Coronavirus Financial Impact
Baptist Health is temporarily furloughing employees, reducing pay for healthcare system leaders, and reassigning some staff at their hospitals to face a financial crunch caused in part from preparing for the coronavirus.
Officials with the healthcare system in a release Thursday said these furloughs would impact employees across their corporate headquarters and eight hospitals, including Baptist Health Paducah hospital and Baptist Health Madisonville hospital.
“Our intent is to return to normal operations as soon as possible, and begin calling back employees. This is just a temporary measure,” said Baptist Health CEO Gerald Colman in a statement. “We value our employees, who are the key to our success, and will continue to be the key to our success going forward. But, first and foremost, we need to ensure we will be here when our communities need us most.”
Baptist Health officials point to measures such as the suspension of elective surgeries -- which bring in a significant amount of revenue for rural hospitals -- as the reason for the moves, to brace against the financial impact of preparing for coronavirus patients. This comes as other hospitals throughout the Ohio Valley have furloughed hundreds of employees for similar reasons, in some cases to avoid hospitals closing altogether.
While the total number of employees furloughed has not been finalized, the furloughs will affect “regular full-time and part-time employees in jobs that do not support caregivers or are not critical to clinical operations related to COVID-19.”
The release said furloughed employees will still be eligible for medical benefits and unemployment compensation. Some who are furloughed will have reduced work hours, with others having their hours suspended.
Leadership including hospital presidents will also take a 20 percent pay cut, while executive staff and vice-presidents at Baptist Health will take a 15 percent pay cut.