Ballad Health furloughs 200 Virginia workers
Not even health care systems are immune from the effects of COVID-19.
Tennessee-based Ballad Health announced in early April it had furloughed between 200 and 250 Southwest Virginia employees to cut administrative costs and ensure it can keep critical frontline medical workers employed during the crisis. Other health systems operating in Virginia such as Bon Secours Mercy Health, Inova Health System and Carilion Clinic have taken similar measures.
Ballad Health furloughed 1,300 employees across its health care system, which also serves parts of Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina, including about 600 corporate and administrative positions primarily in Tennessee. It projects revenue losses to total more than $150 million by mid-July. The health care system has seven hospitals, six urgent care facilities and 84 physicians’ practices in Virginia. Two of its urgent care clinics in Bristol and Marion have been temporarily combined with other nearby clinics.
“The COVID-19 crisis has placed a strain on our team members and our organization that is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before,” says Ballad Health Chairman and CEO Alan Levine, who is waiving 100% of his compensation until at least June 8.
More than 600 of the furloughed Ballad employees had already been working reduced hours due to elective procedures being canceled amid the crisis. Many of these employees tapped into their paid time off to recoup the lost income.
“Many of our team members have been called off or had their hours reduced over the past few weeks because of volume declines of up to 70% in many of our services,” Levine says. Those who are furloughed can be recalled or rehired by Ballad Health at any time.
Furloughed workers are eligible for unemployment.
Frontline Ballad medical workers, such as bedside nurses, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses, are guaranteed work hours. This is to ensure that staffing levels will be adequate in case of a COVID-19 patient surge, Ballad Health spokesperson Teresa Hicks says.
“At the same time we are facing these challenges, Ballad Health must also ensure critical staffing can meet the ongoing needs of the communities we serve,” Levine says.
Furloughs will be reviewed on June 8.