Cleveland - Hospitals across the nation have been impacted financially by the high costs associated with preparedness for a surge in COVID-19 patients and a sharp decline in revenues from the suspension of non-essential surgeries and procedures. Health systems in Ohio are similarly affected.
As a result of the financial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of University Hospitals during the past month and into the future, the health system has announced that for an initial period of 10 weeks it will reduce hours and pay by 20 percent for about 4,100 caregivers not directly involved in patient care. Executives, directors, nonclinical managers, department chairs and division chiefs will have their pay reduced while continuing to work their regular schedules.
Caregivers affected are salaried and hourly nonclinical staff throughout the health system. Exempt, salaried caregivers will take one week off every fifth week. Non-exempt, hourly caregivers will work 20 percent fewer hours per week.
Impacted caregivers who are currently fulltime and moving to reduced hours and pay will maintain eligibility for full-time benefits. Caregivers may use accumulated paid time off (PTO) and sick leave banks to continue pay for days not worked. During this time, UH is also allowing caregivers to go into arrears on PTO up to 40 hours.
In addition for all caregivers, UH matching contributions to 403(b) and 401(k) plans are suspended temporarily beginning the first pay in May, and planned merit pay adjustments are delayed until the end of the calendar year.
“Our most valuable resource is our people. Our approach is to do what we can to assure that UH caregivers do not go without a paycheck and that we preserve the talents and character that define our organization,” said UH Chief Executive Office Thomas F. Zenty III.“We take these actions reluctantly and with deep appreciation for everything our caregivers continue to do to support the health and wellbeing of our communities.”
The decision to take these actions followed a detailed assessment of financial models, capital expenditures and other costs. Although UH is making applications for resources available through FEMA and the Cares Act, any recoveries from these programs alone will not nearly make up for financial losses, Zenty said.
In Ohio, it is estimated that hospitals are seeing financial losses of $42 million per day and spending $5 million per day on increased costs of supplies.
“University Hospitals, like so many other organizations, has continued to provide world-class care for all patients and caregivers while managing the dramatic impacts of the pandemic. These actions assure the continued financial strength of our health system, our ability to respond to this crisis and to continue care for all of our patients needs now and in future, we remain positive that this will occur sooner rather than later, and we will be positioned to serve our community,” Zenty said.
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