Virus forces cuts by Mercy

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

By Scott Loftis

CarrollCountyNews@cox-internet.com

The Mercy healthcare system is cutting salaries for its highest-paid employees, implementing furloughs and eliminating jobs across its four-state service area.

It was not immediately clear how the moves will affect Mercy Hospital in Berryville.

Cody Qualls, executive director of development at Mercy Berryville, referred questions to Mercy spokeswoman Jennifer Cook.

Cook responded to an email inquiry, confirming the pay cuts, furloughs and job losses.

“Like other health care systems across the country, Mercy is taking difficult steps to address the heavy economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis,” Cook said in an emailed statement. “Starting next week and through the end of July as needed, we will begin furloughing co-workers across Mercy’s four-state service area. Health insurance will be continued throughout the furlough period, and an additional 80 hours of pay may be provided through Mercy’s crisis PTO fund. Mercy is also eliminating positions at every level of the organization, impacting every department and every community we serve. In doing so, we will provide severance packages to help care for our co-workers and their families. At this time, Mercy is unable to provide numbers as we are still working to keep as many co-workers employed as possible.

“In addition to these measures, all leaders will earn up to 26% less this year than last, with the most significant reductions at the senior level. For all co-workers, 401k/403b service contributions and matches will not be made for 2020 and annual merit increases may be delayed, as well. No one will be hired into open positions for the foreseeable future without approval of Mercy’s senior leadership.

“Our hearts go out to those impacted by these changes and the unprecedented impact of this global pandemic.”

Mercy Berryville is one of Carroll County’s top employers, with 132 employees.

Earlier this month, the American Health Association reported that it estimates a total four-month financial impact of $202.6 billion in losses for America’s hospitals and health systems, or an average of $50.7 billion per month from March through June. The report cited the effect of COVID-19 hospitalizations on hospital costs; the effect of cancelled and forgone services, caused by COVID-19, on hospital revenue; the additional costs associated with purchasing needed personal protective equipment (PPE); and the costs of the additional support some hospitals are providing to their workers.

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