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Carilion is furloughing some workers — and cutting pay and hours for others — as it deals with the COVID-19 impacts on the health care industry. In a video message to all employees Carilion CEO Nancy Agree says while some employees are working long hours to care for those with the virus, many other departments have seen dramatic slowdowns. Senior executives are taking pay cuts. Carilion is also suspending working on all capitial projects until later this year, including expansion of Roanoke Memorial Hospital. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:

NEWS RELEASE: In response to rapidly shifting operational needs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Carilion Clinic is implementing changes to reduce expenses and preserve the long-term financial security of the organization and its employees.

Like peers nationwide, Carilion has shifted its regular operations to best prepare for and respond to COVID-19. The health system last month halted all non-essential services and procedures, leading to a 40 to 70 percent reduction in ambulatory and inpatient volumes.

For the past six weeks, some employees who faced a reduction in hours have taken on new or reimagined roles as screeners or protection safety officers. Others have staffed referral testing sites and call centers. Still others are being trained to take on new roles should they be needed to care for COVID-19 patients. Those efforts will continue, and as needs change, more employees will be reassigned.

Up to now, staff who were unable to be reassigned have had the option of using their paid time off (PTO) or borrow from future PTO up to 80 hours. That arrangement allowed them to continue receiving pay and benefits.

This week, Carilion is making further changes to match the current, reduced workload. Some employees will have their hours temporarily reduced to 32 hours per week. Other employees will be furloughed. The exact number of employees impacted is still being determined.

Furloughed employees may be immediately eligible to receive state unemployment benefits, and Carilion will pay their premiums for medical, dental and vision insurance.

“We’re making these difficult choices now so that we can come through the other side of this pandemic stronger, and ready to address the pent-up medical needs of our community,” said Nancy Howell Agee, president and CEO of Carilion Clinic. “I’m certain that as our community rebounds from this situation, we will need all of our dedicated employees, and my goal is to welcome them back to work as soon as possible and as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Agee and her executive vice presidents are taking a 20 percent pay cut, and all senior vice presidents and vice presidents are taking a 10 percent pay cut for at least the next six weeks.

Other priorities are being reviewed and recalibrated as well:

  • All new contracts, renewals and vendor relationships are being reviewed to determine if they can be delayed until the pandemic subsides.
  • Capital projects and expenditures, including expansion activities at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, will be paused until later this year.
As Carilion’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, the need for reduced hours and furloughs will continue to be assessed.