NACOGDOCHES — Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital will furlough some employees and institute pay cuts starting Monday because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Like all hospitals across the nation, we have followed CDC instructions and suspended elective surgeries in preparation for the certain surge of patients that will inevitably come during the COVID-19 pandemic,” hospital CEO Gary Stokes said. “At the same time, we’ve been stockpiling equipment and supplies in anticipation of the surge. That has resulted in extraordinary expenses piling up at exactly the same time that we’ve intentionally driven volumes down by more than 50 percent.”
The hospital has been lowering patient volumes and eliminating elective procedures to offset the potential onslaught of patients infected with coronavirus.
Furloughs will continue through June 7, and certain positions throughout the system will be required to work shortened days or reduced work weeks, depending on the nature of the essential services provided.
Though this will be unpaid time off, the remaining work hours should enable employees to maintain insurance benefits and continue accruing paid time off.
The hospital released this list of changes:
■ Affected employees should be eligible to file for unemployment for the hours of work missed.
■ Employees in non-furloughed positions are expected to continue flexing hours based on volume.
■ A 10% across-the-board pay decrease will be implemented for all exempt (salaried) employees, including directors and managers, during the furlough period.
■ A 15% across-the-board pay decrease will be implemented for all C-Suite Executives during the furlough period.
■ A hiring freeze of all non-essential positions will be implemented.
■ The furlough period may be shortened or lengthened, depending on the ever-changing pandemic situation.
“We have filed for relief funding through multiple avenues, just like hundreds of other facilities nationwide, but there’s no way to predict when that funding might get to Nacogdoches,” Stokes said. “Instead of sacrificing jobs permanently, this will allow us to scale back in a way that makes sense for each department. Some will go to a three- or four-day work week, some will go to shorter hours and some will take a temporary cut in pay. Whatever the case, most affected staff members should be eligible to file for unemployment benefits under the current COVID-19 guidelines.”
Memorial is one of at least 80 hospitals across the nation furloughing employees because of the ongoing financial struggles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These are difficult and stressful times for everyone and this decision was not made lightly,” said Stokes. “We have every intention of ensuring that the hospital remains able to serve our citizens for many more years. Our staff is incredibly talented and dedicated to taking care of this community. We will continue to monitor this situation daily with the expectation of returning everyone to full hours and pay at the soonest possible date.”