Gundersen cites 40% to 80% business decline because of COVID-19

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — About 2,200 of Gundersen Health System’s nearly 8,000 employees are working reduced hours or are temporarily furloughed because of a 40 percent to 80 percent decrease in business resulting from its response to COVID-19, Gundersen reported today.
Gundersen’s health and safety measures, enacted in mid-March, included postponement of elective surgeries and non-emergency procedures in hospitals and clinics throughout Gundersen’s three-state system. Mayo Clinic Health System instituted similar measures in its facilities.
Like other hospitals and health-care systems, Gundersen and Mayo took the actions to keep the facilities ready to accept what was expected to be a massive onslaught of COVID-19 patients.
Coincidentally, Gundersen’s statement came roughly three hours before Vice President Mike Pence announced during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force that the task force intends to begin urging governors to encourage hospitals to resume elective surgeries on May 1. Some procedures could begin as early as April 25, said Pence, who is expected to visit Mayo’s main location in Rochester, Minn., Tuesday.
More than two-thirds of Gundersen staffers affected are working reduced hours, the statement said, adding, “These are temporary actions. We plan to bring staff back to fully serve the needs of our patients and communities when procedures and appointments can safely return to normal operations.”
On Wednesday, Mayo Clinic issued a statement saying that its supervisors and managers have been informing staff this week about the timing and duration of furloughs and reduced hours throughout its multi-state system.
The actions are being taken “as part of our financial stabilization efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the Mayo statement, which did not specify how much business it has lost. About 30,000 staffers across the Mayo system will be affected, the statement said.
“The duration will vary depending on the work unit,” the statement said. “Furloughs will begin in early May and will be spread through the rest of the year, with as many as possible happening through August.
“We do not plan layoffs and will continue to provide health care benefits through this period,” Mayo’s statement said, adding that the system’s strategy includes broad expense reduction efforts and using Mayo Clinic’s reserves to focus on the needs of our patients and staff.