Baptist Health announces furloughs, pay cuts to deal with COVID-19 financial drain

Baptist Health announces furloughs, pay cuts to deal with COVID-19 financial drain

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Squeezing hospitals from all sides, the COVID-19 crisis has forced hospitals to furlough workers across the country. Thursday, Baptist Health announced they’re going to have to do the same.

Baptist Health officials haven’t said how many employees will be furloughed, but it’s important to note they aren’t workers treating COVID-19 patients.

“None of this will impact a patient facing care,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer confirmed on Thursday.

Fischer said he was told by Baptist Health’s CEO that employees would be furloughed for eight to 10 weeks.

“None of the layoffs are direct healthcare-providing personnel. These are headquarters personnel, back office personnel,” the mayor said.

Baptist Health stated employees will still get benefits and can apply for unemployment. Some will keep a reduced work schedule.

It is also cutting pay for top administrators by as much as 20 percent and reassigning staff where they’re needed most: at patients’ bedsides and out in communities identifying those at risk for the virus.

“We can clearly see this pandemic has been draining hospitals of PPE and resources, but what’s not so apparent is the financial drain,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. "They’ve made sacrifices in many ways, just like our folks out there about not doing elective procedures which has just decimated their balance sheets.”

Right now, Gov. Beshear said he’s working getting short-term loans and looking for Medicare and insurance companies to help out furloughed employees.

“We’re also talking to them about PPE, not just providing that, but maybe we can help in different areas of buying,” Beshear said.

Also, federal aid is on the way, but Beshear said it could have to be paid back; whatever is secured from the federal government, a significant amount of that will be going to our healthcare providers.

“They are on the front lines of fighting the coronavirus, and we need them,” the governor said.

Norton Healthcare officials said the company is not laying anyone off, but it is re-assigning some workers and having others stay home with pay to make sure they can be called on when needed.

UofL Health did not get back to WAVE 3 News with anything definitive.

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