ST. LOUIS — SSM Health is placing 2,000 employees on furlough, among other cost-saving measures during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a press release from SSM Health, the furlough affects 5% of employees across SSM Health's four-state health system. SSM Health is facing financial challenges due to the pandemic and said the furlough is one of the necessary measures to cut down on costs.
"We’ve continued to invest in supplies and tools needed to respond to the pandemic, while volumes across our four-state system have decreased by roughly 50%," SSM Health said. "Our first priority is to ensure the continued health and safety of our patients, caregivers and communities. As good stewards of our ministry for both the short and the long-term, we must also take immediate steps to reduce unnecessary costs and expenses."
Additional employees will undergo a partial furlough period. All employees facing furlough will be eligible for state and federal financial assistance through the CARES Act.
SSM Health is also reducing its support functions expenses by 20%, has frozen discretionary expenses for the year and has paused or deferred non-critical capital expense projects.
"While we are moving forward with market-based increases for our employees, executive compensation has been frozen and we’re placing a hold on open positions that are non-critical," SSM Health said in a press release.
All furloughed employees will remain employed and can return to work once normal operations resume. SSM Health will provide a "Return-to-Work Adjustment" payment to all furloughed employees who weren't reimbursed their full base pay by government assistance.
Furloughs are expected to last 13 weeks, but could end sooner, SSM Health said. It will continue to cover the cost of health benefits for furloughed employees.
"We are confident these measures will enable us to improve organizational performance, while continuing to deliver high-quality, compassionate care for the people who need us," SSM Health said.
When 5 On Your Side reached out for further comment, SSM Health responded that it would not be doing any interviews.