Hospitals furlough workers during coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus - Hospitals furlough workers during pandemic

Despite the influx of patients who have COVID-19 and potentially not having enough medical personnel or supplies, some hospital workers are getting notices that they will be furloughed, multiple media outlets are reporting.

The reason: Hospitals have had to cancel elective and nonemergency services as they either treat coronavirus patients or prepare for the pandemic. It’s all because while hospitals provide health care, they do it based on a business model and revenues are falling drastically, The New York Times reported.

At the same time, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said hospitals in his city may not have enough medical workers to treat everyone, the Times reported de Blasio said last week.

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Trinity Health’s Mid-Atlantic System has five hospitals in Pennsylvania is planning to furlough some staff. The same goes for Shore Medical Center and Bayada Home Health Care, both based in New Jersey, are temporarily letting go some workers -- like those in nonclinical fields or administrative and managerial positions -- who are not caring for patients, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Not only have nonemergency procedures stopped, so has charitable giving, another source of income for hospitals, the Inquirer reported.

At Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia, New Hampshire, more than 600 employees are being furloughed, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported.

The hospital has seen a more than 50% loss in revenue since the pandemic started. Not only is the hospital furloughing workers because of a decrease in revenue, they are also looking at it to help cut back on the amount of personal protective gear needed, the Union Leader reported.

The hospital is also closing down doctors’ offices and keep “minimal medical staff to support essential COVID-19 activities," the president and CEO of LRGHealthcare, Kevin Donovan, told the Union Leader.

Gov. Chris Sununu created a $50 million emergency fund for hospitals last month. He said LRGHealthcare received $5.25 million no-interest, six-month loan from the fund, the Union Leader reported.

But not all hospitals are looking to cut staff. Some are looking to hire and they’re asking those who have retired or have left to come back and help save lives.

The Veterans Health Administration is looking for people to work on virtual care, to man the national call center or provide direct patient care or support at a VA medical center. The VHA is compiling a database from which to recruit. Click here for more information.

FILE PHOTO: Healthcare professionals screen people entering the emergency room at Highland Hospital on March 26, 2020 in Oakland, California. Some healthcare systems are furloughing workers because non-emergency services are being cut, resulting in the loss of revenue for hospitals.
FILE PHOTO: Healthcare professionals screen people entering the emergency room at Highland Hospital on March 26, 2020 in Oakland, California. Some healthcare systems are furloughing workers because non-emergency services are being cut, resulting in the loss of revenue for hospitals. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)