The financial burden of the coronavirus has caused hospitals to cut back expenses, including furloughing workers across the system. BJC Health care reported Monday that over the next two weeks an undeclared number of staff will be laid off. Matching 401K funds for the remainder of the year will be suspended. Annual salary increases will be delayed. Senior executives will experience a paycut and less hours.
“Impacting our employees is something we do as a last resort,” Rich Liekweg, BJC HealthCare President and CEO, proclaimed. “We took other actions immediately to reduce our expenses, including freezing hiring for all non-patient facing positions, stopping all business travel and suspending almost all construction projects. Unfortunately, these actions were not enough to bring our spending in line with payments for the care we continue to provide.”
BJC is a non profit healthcare organization. It consists of two nationally recognized academic hospitals which are affiliated with the Washington University School of Medicine.
The cost of hospitals doing triage based on a single illness is showing
Elective surgeries and procedures needed to be canceled. There was the need to purchase millions of items of personal protective equipment. Extra workers and the need for remote locations all helped to put a strain on the budget. Business travel and construction projects have also been put on hold. Executive salaries will be cut 5 – 25%. Furloughed personnel will have medical and dental insurance coverage for at least eight weeks.
There was a special pay program for COVID-19 that will be stopped May 9. But that doesn’t make sense. Those facing this illness should be receiving MORE pay, not less.
Democrats, care to donate any of your paychecks to our first responders and essential workers you deem so critical? The hospitals have had to shift priorities due to this. If it keeps up, how many hospitals will have to close? Or is this an industry that can face collateral damage in the never ending battle to remove Trump?
“We will work with our team members to help answer their questions and provide resources to help them through this process, and as our patient volumes return, we look forward to welcoming them back to BJC,” Tischler said.
Hospitals nationwide will face a similar situation
The Springfield-based Hospital Sisters Health System which operates three hospitals will face cuts. St. Louis-based SSM Health announced cut backs April 27. This affects two hospitals. Illinois hospitals are losing $1.4 billion where the normal income statewide is $3.2 billion per month.
“While this is news we never wanted to have to share, we are confident that we will weather this storm together,” Liekweg said. “Our focus will be on ensuring our organization is able to continue providing high-quality care consistent with our mission for generations to come.”
It’s ironic. If the Democrats let up on their restrictions, those praised healthcare workers will actually get the pay they deserve.