Even healthcare workers are impacted by COVID-19 as Gundersen Health System announced it will reduce staff levels across its system through furloughs and reduction in hours.
The decision was to let Gundersen address the financial stress from COVID-19 and direct essential services and resources to an anticipated increase in COVID-19 care and treatment needs.
Specific numbers of staff who will be impacted by furloughs and reduced hours are not yet known. Gundersen said it will support impacted staff with all available resources.
“We have been intensely focused on the safety of our patients, visitors and staff,” said Gundersen chief executive officer Scott Rathgaber, MD. “We have planned for a potential surge in COVID-19 patients and worked to preserve our resources and supplies to be ready. We also cancelled elective and non-essential procedures and appointments to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19 in our communities, conserve protective equipment, and ensure hospital capacity for the surge.”
Rathgaber explained Gundersen and the healthcare industry are not immune to the financial and economic stress caused by the global pandemic.
Depending on the Gundersen service and location, the organization has seen a 40 to 80% decrease in business operations due to, among other actions, the cancellation of procedures and appointments as a COVID-19 health and safety measure.
“Furloughs and reduced hours are clearly difficult actions. But these are temporary actions,” Dr. Rathgaber said.
Rathgaber said the hospital system plans to bring staff back to when procedures and appointments can safely return to normal operations.