Some Mercy Health-St. Rita’s employees will be placed on furlough since the medical center is unable to do some primary care, and outpatient and surgical services because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to a media release from their parent company Bon Secours Mercy Health, the furlough will not affect any services that directly involve the care of COVID-19 patients. They admit that the outbreak has caused an unprecedented demand for health services, the pandemic has also caused a decline in other areas. Of the 60,000 associates in their 51-hospital system, Bon Secours Mercy Health says around 700 associates will be placed on furlough, they will not release the number for just St. Rita’s.
The temporary furlough is expected to last 30 to 90 days, the workers will be paid until Friday and then can file for unemployment. There is a fund set up to help the furloughed associates.
STATEMENT FROM MERCY HEALTH on COVID-19 Related Furlough: As a ministry and throughout our history, we’ve always answered the call to serve in a time of great need, when resources are scarce and entire communities are relying upon us. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented demand for health care services. Simultaneously, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented decline in services and other work within our ministry.
In response to this unprecedented situation, and following deep reflection and prayer, our ministry is acting quickly to redeploy or temporarily furlough associates who are unable to work due to temporary closure, cancellation and low census in primary care, outpatient and surgical services. This will also affect many support services associates who are not directly working on COVID-19 activities. We are also suspending hiring for any positions not directly impacting our COVID-19 and care responses.
These decisions will help our ministry preserve life and provide vital health care services to the increasing number of patients that require care; be good stewards of our resources and provide adequate support to our care givers as they care for our communities; and be thoughtful about caring for those associates whose roles are vitally important to our ministry but are not directly supporting patient care during this time of crisis.
The temporary furlough is expected to last 30 to 90 days. Affected associates will be paid for working through April 3, and then available PTO hours will be paid until depleted. Associates are eligible for unemployment benefits. The Bon Secours Mercy Health Foundation has generously provided $60 million to the Bon Secours Mercy Health Associate Emergency Fund, which will help associates facing serious financial challenges.
It is critically important to note that the decisions made are in no way a reflection of our associates’ contributions or the great care provided to our people and communities. The efforts of our entire team, combined with the tough decisions we are making today, will enable us to continue to focus on the COVID-19 response, which we expect to escalate in the coming weeks, and ensure ongoing compassionate care for years to come. Our frontline caregivers are serving with compassion, professionalism and courage as we care for our patients, and we support their tireless efforts.
“While we are actively working to model and anticipate the length of this crisis, we cannot accurately predict the duration of this pandemic, we can only learn from countries that have seen acceleration and are now experiencing declines in the number of cases. If we’re to ensure we can support the clinicians and provide resources necessary to care for pandemic victims and all patients, action must be taken quickly.
This is a challenging time for everyone … for those working tirelessly at the bedside, for our skilled and compassionate health professionals and support staff fighting COVID-19 and those associates who will be furloughed. Together, we are working closely with legislators to ensure necessary resources are available for health systems and associates, and we continue pray for effective treatments and vaccines to stop the spread of COVID-19.”