Washington Regional furloughs employees amid COVID-19 pandemic

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Washington Regional furloughs some employees due to COVID-19.

A total of 305 full-time equivalent members of the Washington Regional workforce will be furloughed for a 60-day period effective April 19.

According to Washington Regional, all salaried workers have received a 10% reduction in salary, with members of senior management receiving up to a 25% reduction. 

The impact that the Coronavirus public health emergency is having on the nation’s economy and health care sector is well documented. Today more than 22 million Americans are unemployed. 

As with countless health systems across the nation and in Arkansas, Washington Regional has come to the difficult conclusion that it must institute a furlough. The directives of federal and state public health authorities that hospitals limit all non-urgent and non-emergent surgical, diagnostic and outpatient procedures has resulted in drastic declines in both patient volumes and hospital revenues. 

As a locally owned and governed nonprofit health system, Washington Regional has always been a good steward of its resources and targeting those resources to match the specific needs of our community. Unfortunately, the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic has necessitated that Washington Regional implement many of the same cost reduction strategies that have been taken by most other health systems in Arkansas and across the nation. 

Washington Regional has attempted to limit its furlough to those team members who do not currently perform functions that are critical to direct patient care delivery at the bedside. 

A total of 305 full-time equivalent members of our workforce will be furloughed for a sixty-day period effective April 19. In addition, all salaried members of our workforce have received a 10% reduction in salary, with members of senior management receiving up to a 25% reduction. 

A furlough is a reduction in days or weeks an employee may work – it is not a layoff. It is our expectation that our team members who are furloughed will be able to return to work once the public health emergency and its consequences come to an end. 

Furloughed workers will remain Washington Regional team members and will continue to have access to health and related benefits. We understand the significant impact these measures have on our valued team members. 

We appreciate our community and ask for its continued support for our team members and charitable mission as we continue to prepare and respond to this unprecedented public health emergency. 

Statement from J. Larry Shackelford, President and CEO of Washington Regional Medical System

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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