DECATUR, Ga. (CBS46) -- Janis Dunckel organized a musical show of support in her Decatur neighborhood. The joyful orchestra plays every night at 7.

So imagine the shock Dunckel felt when she learned some of the front line heroes she and her neighbors cheer for would not be returning to work for awhile.

“I think it’s really sad and I think it must be really really hard for them,” Dunckel said.

In a statement, Wellstar Health System said,“As a result of volume impacts from COVID-19, some of our team members have been flexed off of their regular schedules.”

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Jamaica Horton told CBS46.

The Health system refused to say which staff members were flexed off or how many employees were on the list. Still, Horton, a nursing student, did not agree with the decision.

“It’s sad, it shouldn’t happen. There should be other options,” Horton said.

Wellstar also stated, “Some of the team members who have currently been flexed may qualify for redeployment to other Wellstar facilities.”

To the flexed employees Dunckel had one message: “Hang in there because things are gonna get better.”

Wellstar added the flexed employees will receive support through the company’s interim pay continuation program. 

"Wellstar has a Flex Staffing Policy that has always existed. Wellstar routinely flexes staffing to meet demand. Like all hospitals and many businesses, flexing up and down during peak and lighter periods is normal. Employees may use paid time off PTO so they can continue to get paid, while being flexed off. To support employees who may be impacted by volume changes due to COVID-19, Wellstar has also created an industry-leading interim Pay Continuation Program for full-time and part-time employees with benefits. This program is a way for Wellstar to provide support for benefits-eligible employees – including 80% of our nurses, who represent the majority of our workforce. The Pay Continuation Program covers base pay for benefits eligible employees (full-time and part-time) who are impacted by COVID-19 illness; proactive isolation, and/or volume decline. We are also repurposing and retraining some benefits eligible employees to serve in the most critical areas of our facilities.” 

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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(2) comments

A

Hospitals are not employment agencies. They are in the business of providing healthcare - not hiring and keeping employees.

When one area in the hospital experiences a decline in business, and another sees an uptick, the affected staff have options. They can either 1) transition from their slow area into an area of greater need, 2) use vacation time to make up for lost hours, or 3) take time off without pay.

Some healthcare systems have given their employees an extra 80 hours of vacation time across the board to use as needed in order to help in this unprecedented time. Other systems have elected to pay bonuses during this time.

Even though staff are given the opportunity to temporarily transfer into an area they're more needed and for which they are qualified (in order to retain their hours), everything is so specialized now that most will opt to use vacation time or simply go without - rather than leave their comfort zone in their home department in order to help out in another area of the hospital.

A

Hospitals are not employment agencies. They are in the business of providing healthcare - not hiring and keeping employees.

When one area in the hospital experiences a decline in business, and another sees an uptick, the affected staff have options. They can either 1) transition from their slow area into an area of greater need, 2) use vacation time to make up for lost hours, or 3) take time off without pay.

Some healthcare systems have given their employees an extra 80 hours of vacation time across the board to use as needed to help in this unprecedented time. Other systems have elected to pay bonuses during this time.

Even though staff are given the opportunity to temporarily transfer into an area they're more needed and for which they are qualified (in order to retain their hours), everything is so specialized now that most will opt to use vacation time or simply go without - rather than leave their comfort zone in their home department in order to help out in another area of the hospital.

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