Doctors and nurses are actually being furloughed across America – despite media reports about shortages


OKLAHOMA CITY, OK.- While small businesses across the country remain shuttered due to the lack of a plan by the nation’s governors to put in place a sensible plan to deal with the coronavirus, a hospital in Oklahoma City is closing temporarily due to a lack of nonemergency procedures and surgeries, according to a new report.

According to the Washington Examiner, citing the Oklahoman, Integris Baptist Medical center is keeping its emergency open, but will close at least temporarily for other procedures according to a spokesperson.

“We fully anticipate that if and when we see a surge of COVID-19 patients in Oklahoma City, we will be reopening this campus,” the spokesperson told the paper.

As medical resources across the country have been delegated to treating coronavirus victims, patients who were scheduled for routine procedures have been put on the back burner.

Health officials across the country have told people with so-called “nonessential” medical needs to put the procedures off until after the virus has slowed, even though much of the country has been left relatively unimpacted by the virus.

A spokeswoman for the facility, Brooke Cayot said that the hospital is expected to reopen either when it becomes necessary should a surge in coronavirus cases become prevalent, or when the need increases after elective and non-emergency surgeries have been reinstated.

With regard to employees, Cayot said, “The direct personal caregivers are being reassigned to the Baptist campus. It’s the non-direct patient care employees, for the most part, who will be considered for furlough just like all the other caregivers in our system right now.”

She said that she didn’t know how many employees might be furloughed and it would be decided on a case by case basis. She said there are nearly 10,000 employees in the Integris system, and also noted that it was “not a reduction in force. It’s really, truly a temporary reduction in hours.”

In Oklahoma there have been just over 1,500 cases of the virus with less than 100 fatalities.

Medical procedures unrelated to the virus have hurt the balance sheets of hospitals across the country, as was reported in the Washington Examiner last week.

In Cincinnati, Ohio, the Ohio Department of Health put a stop to all nonessential surgeries in an effort to preserve persona protective equipment in hospitals. An estimate says that cancelled surgical procedures will cost Cincinnati area hospitals around $1.2 billion per month, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

As in Oklahoma, the cutback in services has put hospitals in a position of having to cut back on hours and consider furloughs of hospital workers. A spokeswoman for Mercy Health in Cincinnati said that 700 employees will be furloughed for anywhere between 30 to 90 days.

Across the country, as governors have shut down businesses and given grim death count estimates that continually come up short, states have issued similar mandates to those in Ohio, based on guidance from the U.S. Surgeon General.

In the city of Boston, the Boston Medical Center has had to furlough 700 employees.

“We have reassigned a number of staff members and made the difficult decision to furlough approximately 10 percent of our health system workforce,” according to Boston Medical Center President Kate Walsh in a statement to the Boston Globe. “Although furloughed employees will cease to work temporarily, they will remain in active status with the expectation of returning.

Move across to Kentucky, where one of the largest healthcare enterprises in the state is laying off hundreds of employees due to the downturn in income related to the virus.

“It’s very unfortunate, it’s just another economic fallout as a result of this pandemic,” said Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley in a statement to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

His statement came in response to notification that Appalachian Regional Healthcare in eastern Kentucky is furloughing 500 workers.

“This pandemic is having an impact on every industry, including the healthcare industry.”

In Hartford, Connecticut, the wonderful Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has been forced to furlough 400 employees across the its system, the result of delayed surgeries and a plummeting patient volume, which has resulted in millions of lost revenue, a report in the Hartford Courant stated.

South Carolina’s Prisma Health has seen its number of elective cases drop by 75% in two weeks, forcing CEO Mark O’Halla to issue a letter to employees informing them of furloughs. Oh, but they will be able to apply for unemployment and apply for open positions at the hospital.

The Tennessean reports that 200 healthcare workers in that state are being furloughed for the same reasons.

“This was a very difficult decision to make. I appreciate the tremendous sacrifices our staff is making in this time of uncertainty,” said Donald Webb, CEO of Williamson Medical Center. “Given these extraordinary circumstances, we are taking the necessary actions to ensure long term viability of the health system for our staff and the communities we serve.”

In New Jersey, Shore Medical Center sent a letter to employees in which they told them that “the dramatic decrease in revenues” and “significant resources” invested in protecting workers from coronavirus through increased protective equipment has forced them to layoff workers.

“In an effort to reduce the number of involuntary staff reductions Shore Medical Center is first asking for volunteers who may be interested in accepting a layoff,” a spokesperson wrote in a letter obtained by NBC 10 in Philadelphia.

“Perhaps, prior to COVID-19, you have thought about leaving the organization, for one reason or another in the next few months? If you are interested in volunteering for a layoff, we may be able to meet that need depending on department operations.”

Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist wrote on Twitter:

“Get ready. This is going to start happening at hospitals and private medical practices all over the country. In the name of ‘flattening the curve’ we are economically destroying health care capacity.”

Mr. Davis, we are destroying a hell of a lot more than that, sadly.

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