Hospitals Are Laying Off Tens Of Thousands Staff Members Amid COVID-19

Hospitals around the country are being forced to furlough their employees as they are closing some operations, including elective surgeries and non-COVID-19 medical procedures.

Some states have maintained full functionality in their hospitals and medical centers, but governors in more than a dozen states have issued orders stopping nonurgent operations.

The Daily Wire reports: “The massive decline in revenue, however, has resulted in at least 42,000 healthcare workers filing for unemployment, Department of Labor numbers revealed last week.”

“Some layoffs, the generally permanent loss of a job, and furloughs, a reduction in hours or a leave of absence with the option to return, are focused on nonclinical staff,” The Associated Press reports. “Elsewhere, clinical professionals — specialists, lab techs, operating room staffs, nurse specialists, support staff — suddenly find themselves with a cut in pay or hours, or sitting at home, including some in coronavirus hotspots.”

According to the report, the “$100 billion from the federal relief package signed last month by President Donald Trump” may not be enough to cover the costs of keeping nonessential workers as “it is not clear how the money will be distributed, or how soon, or whether it will be enough.”

Some of these hospitals were already struggling before the coronavirus pandemic:

Erlanger Health System, which operates six hospitals in Tennessee and one in western North Carolina, reported it lost millions of dollars in the past week alone.

“The financial bleeding was immediate,” said Chip Kahn, CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals.

The federation said it believes hospitals are eligible to apply for loans in the federal emergency relief bill to maintain payroll or rehire workers, loans that can then be forgiven.

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In the meantime, states reeling from the pandemic are calling for help from medical professionals or relaxing regulations to allow retired workers, students or out-of-state professionals to come to the rescue.

Some hospitals — such as rural hospitals or urban ones with a heavy Medicaid caseload — were on precarious financial footing when the crisis struck, sending some states scrambling to keep them open, including in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

The Daily Wire adds:

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System in Florida had to drastically cut employees on Friday, after losing an estimated $16 million in expected revenue in March alone.

“Sarasota Memorial Hospital announced it will furlough some workers and reduce hours for others due to a ‘sudden and drastic drop in patient volumes and revenues,’” an ABC affiliate reported Friday. “According to officials, Sarasota Memoria Hospital experienced a $16 million reduction in revenue in March. After non-emergency procedures were canceled due to the pandemic, surgery cases fell by more than 50 percent and the hospital saw a 30-percent drop on the number of inpatients, according to the press release.”