Tags: Coronavirus | furloughs | hospitals | emergency room

Pay Cuts, Hours and Benefits Slashed for Some ER Doctors

ER doctors
(Mary Altaffer/AP Photo)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 April 2020 11:42 AM

As the coronavirus rampages through the country, inundating some hospitals with patients needing urgent care, many emergency room doctors are watching their hours, pay, and benefits get slashed.

To handle the influx of coronavirus patients and limit exposure of the virus to others, hospitals were mandated to cancel lucrative elective surgeries. Hospitals are also losing out on money as Americans head to urgent care centers or utilize telehealth services instead of hospitals, CNN reports.

Even with a $100 billion fund dedicated to reimbursing hospitals for lost revenue due to the coronavirus, hospitals are still taking additional steps to conserve money. 

To do so, hospitals and medical staffing companies are furloughing workers and taking steps to salvage finances. 

One ER doctor at a Virginia hospital told CNN that both hours and pay will be cut because patient volume is down. 

Medical staffing firm TeamHealth asked anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists to volunteer for furloughs for up to 90 days via email, an anesthesiologist told CNN.

A TeamHealth spokesman told CNN anesthesia services are down by 65% after authorities shut down elective procedures. The spokesman also said the company will cut hours of ER physicians in areas seeing fewer patients. More than 100 members of senior TeamHealth leaders agreed to take pay cuts.

Alteon Health had to change course on its plan to cut its 401(k) retirement plan match and health savings account contribution, as well as take away paid time off.

After cuts were reported by ProPublica, the company promised to catch up on the 401(k) match once the pandemic passes and stated clinicians will continue to earn paid time off, but it must be approved.

In addition to physicians, other hospital employees are being furloughed. Boston Medical Center Health System furloughed about 700 employees, many in administration roles, according to The Boston Globe

The hospital system has lost about $5 million in weekly revenue because elective surgeries and non-urgent visits have been postponed, a spokeswoman said. It typically has 4,000 outpatient visits daily.

Additional temporary furloughs are expected. Sarasota Memorial Health Care System in Florida announced temporary furloughs and reduced hours were coming. 

In an online statement, the hospital wrote that it “experienced a $16 million reduction in March revenue” and expects the financial hit to be even greater in April and May.

“This was an extremely difficult decision, and one that we did not make lightly,” CEO David Verinder said in a letter to employees. 

Trinity Health said it, too, has plans to furlough at least 2,500 employees at eight hospitals in Michigan in the coming weeks. 

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As the coronavirus rampages through the country inundating some hospitals with patients needing urgent care, many emergency room doctors are watching their hours, pay and benefits get slashed. To handle the influx of coronavirus patients and limit exposure...
furloughs, hospitals, emergency room
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2020-42-08
Wednesday, 08 April 2020 11:42 AM
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