'Crushing' coronavirus blow forces hospital worker furloughs across the country

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Even as the coronavirus pandemic puts pressure on the U.S. health care system, hospitals throughout the country are furloughing workers after suspending elective procedures.

Children's Mercy Kansas City furloughed or cut hours for 350 employees after surgeries and outpatient visits fell by more than 70 percent, hospital president and CEO Paul Kempinski said.


"COVID-19 is having a crushing, negative impact on patient care access, our employees and our financial performance," Kempinski said. "In order to keep our community safe and to prepare to care for COVID-19 patients, last month we suspended elective procedures and limited outpatient clinic visits."

A nurse fills out paperwork on a COVID-19 patient outside an Intensive Care Unit room, April 20, 2020, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Health officials have urged hospitals to suspend elective surgeries since mid-March to stop the spread of the virus, and many governors issued executive orders putting them on hold. But that also means that hospitals are losing out on a big chunk of income.

Hospitals that have placed workers on furlough include:

  • Children’s Mercy in Kansas City, Missouri: The pediatric facility is losing out on $1 million in net revenue per day. In addition to furloughing some workers, more than 2,500 employees are working from home.
  • Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, California: The hospital will furlough 175 employees in departments including food service for two months, FOX26 reported.
  • Pikeville Medical Center in Pikeville, Kentucky: The hospital has taken a financial hit and will furlough more than 200 employees effective Sunday, WYMT reported.
  • Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland: The hospital has had to make “difficult decisions” including furloughing 1,000 employees, some of whom will be redeployed, spokeswoman Arminta Plater said according to The Baltimore Sun.

President Trump on Friday signed the $484 billion coronavirus relief package that includes $75 billion for hospitals, with a special focus on those in rural areas.


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