ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) – Wellstar Health System could be planning to implement pay reductions among its frontline workers and those who support them in response to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a notice obtained by CBS46, the healthcare system cited drastic reductions in patient volumes and sources of revenue needed to pursue its mission.
The healthcare system will temporarily furlough 1,070 team members through July 31st. Affected Wellstar employees will retain healthcare benefits, have the option to use paid time off to minimize the financial impact, and many should qualify for CARES Act support.
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Wellstar previously sought to balance the financial impact of the pandemic through hiring freezes and elimination of overtime, but now says additional action is required.
Candice Saunders, president and chief operating officer, Wellstar Health System issued the following statement to CBS46:
“I am proud of the way our team members have served the needs of our patients and communities during this pandemic. They are all healthcare heroes to me. The financial reality is that, despite treating COVID-19 patients, our patient volumes overall have been drastically reduced since mid-March, leaving many of our team members with a substantially reduced workload. While we expect patient volumes to gradually return to near-normal levels during the fourth quarter of the year, Wellstar is facing hundreds of millions of dollars in a financial deficit for 2020, even with the expected CARES Act provider funding relief.”
Wellstar’s Chief Financial Officer, Jim Budzinski, also added:
“As a not-for-profit health system, Wellstar has always been conscious about our ability to fund our mission. When elective procedures were postponed and steps were taken to successfully flatten the curve, resources were redirected to help contain the spread of COVID-19. While our actions were necessary, they significantly reduced our patient volumes and impacted our financial stability. We are taking strategic measures that will enable us to continue providing personalized patient care and services, both now and in the future.”