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Gundersen announces staff reduction

Kaitlyn Riley

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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.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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