St. Francis-Emory places 5 percent of workforce on temporary leave due to COVID-19 impact

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – St. Francis-Emory Healthcare has placed 5 percent of its workforce on temporary leave as the coronavirus crisis continues and businesses across the state and in Columbus are forced to respond to shifting business needs.

The 5 percent of employees placed on temporary leave will take partial pay equaling 25 percent of their salary for the time they’re on leave, a St. Francis spokesperson said. Employees will continue to receive their benefits.

Additionally, the spokesperson said hospital officers are also affected by the changes to business.

“… Our hospital officers are taking 10-percent salary reductions for the next 2 months. St. Francis’s operating partner, LifePoint Health, has implemented a 30 percent-salary reduction for its CEO and Executive Leadership Team for a minimum of two months, and reductions between 5-20 percent for all employees at the LifePoint Health Support Center,” St. Francis said in a statement.

The change comes as the hospital has had to adjust the hours of staff to align with new patient volumes and acuity for patient care.

The other large hospital in Columbus, Piedmont Columbus Regional, gave a statement to News 3 that they currently had no plans to make changes to the current workforce:

No doubt, the COVID crisis has hit Piedmont – as it has all healthcare providers – in a significant way financially. And while we are beginning to plan for how we recover, our attention remains on how to best care for our patients and the amazing Piedmont team members necessary to treat them. While this situation is unprecedented and fluid – both in scope and duration, at this time, we do not have plans for changes to the Piedmont workforce.

Statement from Piedmont Columbus Regional

Read the full statement from St. Francis-Emory Healthcare:

As our hospital continues to respond to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we remain focused on taking care of our patients, taking care of our people, and preventing the spread of disease.

Like all hospitals, in addition to fighting COVID-19 on the front lines of patient care, we have to manage the business impact we are experiencing due to significant decreases in volume and the utilization of services. Declines in utilization are a result of people staying home and practicing smart social distancing, and also because of our decision to reschedule elective and non-urgent procedures, when clinically feasible, in an effort to preserve critical resources needed to care for patients during this global pandemic.

As a result, we have made the difficult decision to place 5% of our workforce on temporary leave with partial pay equaling 25% of their salary for their time on leave. Employees on leave will continue to be enrolled in benefits as they are today. We also have been adjusting the hours of our staff to align to the volume and acuity of patients we are seeing – a practice that is commonly used among hospitals, and is being leveraged to a greater extent right now. Additionally, our hospital officers are taking 10% salary reductions for the next 2 months. St. Francis’s operating partner, LifePoint Health, has implemented a 30% salary reduction for its CEO and Executive Leadership Team for a minimum of two months, and reductions between 5-20% for all employees at the LifePoint Health Support Center.

These are very hard decisions to make, and we are incredibly sensitive to the impact they have on our employees. However, these are necessary measures to ensure we are maximizing our resources and supporting our teams on the front lines of battling COVID-19.

We are hopeful that we will be able to welcome our employees back to their positions and full schedules soon. Until then, we are grateful to be able to offer them support through LifePoint Health’s CORE Crisis Initiative. CORE, which was created with the purpose of Connecting Our Resources to Employees, is a comprehensive response to how the pandemic is impacting LifePoint employees across the nation.

The CORE Crisis Initiative includes resources such as the partial pay for employees on temporary leave described above, as well as COVID-19 sick pay, child and elder care stipends, and unlimited Employee Assistance Program (EAP) services. It also includes access to our LifeCare Disaster Recovery Fund, which provides emergency support to employees facing serious financial hardship. A portion of LifePoint and hospital leaders’ salary reductions will help fund a donation LifePoint will make to the LifeCare Disaster Recovery Fund for employees in need. Additional information about the CORE Crisis Initiative is available here.

We thank our staff members across departments for their work in keeping one another and our patients safe during this unprecedented time, and we thank our community for their ongoing support of our heroic staff.

Statement from St. Francis-Emory Healthcare

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