The following article is a Press Release from the Bothwell Regional Health Center.Due to the impact of COVID-19, Bothwell Regional Health Center implemented a temporary furlough on April 13 to conserve cash and ensure the future financial stability of the organization. 50 employees were placed on immediate temporary furlough. Positions furloughed were chosen based on skill mix and seniority.

Following various medical society guidelines, Bothwell chose to cancel elective surgeries starting three weeks ago, and although necessary surgeries are continuing to take place, volumes have decreased by over 70%. Even with the new ability to convert clinic appointments to virtual video visits, clinic patient volumes have declined due to patients choosing to postpone their well visit appointments to avoid the clinics.

“When patient clinic volumes decrease, it affects hospital volumes as well.” said Steve Davis, Bothwell CFO. “In the first two weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bothwell experienced a 43% decrease in revenue.”

Bothwell Regional Health Center will cover both the employer and employee expense for health insurance for those who were temporarily laid off as part of the furlough. All other insurances will continue in full, unless canceled by the employee. Bothwell Human Resources has filed on behalf of each furloughed employee for unemployment benefits.

In addition to the furloughs, Bothwell has implemented a hiring freeze for all but respiratory therapy and registered nurse positions. Many existing staff are being redeployed to cover openings in other areas to avoid the need for additional furloughs. Other actions include voluntary pay reductions for leaders and medical staff, temporarily suspending federal student loan payments, delaying any wage increases, and temporarily stopping the 403(b) employer match for retirement plans.

"Yesterday was an incredibly difficult time for our health system, and this is not a decision we made lightly,” said Lori Wightman, Bothwell CEO “I regret the immediate personal impact on each of these employees and their families.”

Additional furloughs are not planned at this time, and Bothwell plans to bring back affected employees at various times depending on organizational needs.