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Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers has implemented a recovery plan in response to the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since mid-March, patient volumes at Morris Hospital and its 24 facilities have declined as much as 60% in some areas -- including inpatient care, surgeries, outpatient services, and clinic visits -- resulting in a significant operating loss for the month of March. Operating losses for April are expected to be greater.
While many hospital staff have already experienced reduced income as a result of working fewer hours due to the decreased volumes, the recovery plan distributes the impact among everyone employed by Morris Hospital & Healthcare Centers.
As a result, salaried staff will experience a temporary reduction in compensation, while worked hours for all non-salaried staff will be temporarily reduced to core staffing levels.
“While Morris Hospital is very fortunate to have reserves to help carry us through difficult times, we never anticipated a financial stress as deep as the one we’re faced with today,” Morris Hospital President & CEO Mark Steadham said in a news release from Morris Hospital.
"In order to maintain a strong Morris Hospital in the future, it is imperative that we take action now in order to better align our expenses with our current revenue.”
With a staff of over 1,400 -- including nearly 50 physicians -- salaries and benefits represent the organization’s largest expense.
“The hospital’s goal is that no employee involuntarily loses their job," Steadham said in the release. "The plan shares the burden among every member of our team in every department, not just departments where services have been temporarily suspended or volumes are reduced. That’s what makes us one team."
In other cost savings measures, the retirement plan contributions have been temporarily postponed, salary increases have been suspended for 2020, and vacant positions will be filled with existing staff except in rare instances.
The hospital is also looking to reduce expenses by limiting the purchase of goods and services, establishing pricing discounts with major suppliers, and reducing or eliminating contract/agency staffing.
As part of its financial recovery plan, Morris Hospital is pursuing a number of federal relief opportunities available through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, CARE Act, and FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.
“Our staff is a group of dedicated, compassionate, hard-working individuals who rightly deserve to be hailed as heroes during this pandemic,” said Steadham. “Nothing pains our executive team and board of directors more than having to make decisions that personally affect every member of our staff. We have asked our staff for their cooperation so that we can stay together as a team to fight and win the war against COVID-19."
In order to serve the health care needs of the community, the majority of Morris Hospital’s services have remained operational since the start of the pandemic, including laboratory and diagnostic imaging outpatient testing; physical, occupational and speech therapy; cardiac diagnostics and cardiac interventional treatment; radiation cancer treatment; emergency services; walk-in immediate/convenient care; occupational medicine for area employees; urgent surgical care; inpatient care; and physician services at 22 office locations.
Elective surgeries and procedures will resume May 11 following guidelines from the Illinois Department of Public Health.