CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Intermountain Healthcare Making Up Revenue Without Laying Off Caregivers

Jun 15, 2020, 6:21 PM | Updated: 8:32 pm

MURRAY, Utah — As hospitals worldwide shifted focus to deal with COVID-19, they lost hundreds of millions in revenue from the regular health care that was put on hold. Intermountain Healthcare used several strategies to manage a loss of more than $400 million without laying off employees.

When the coronavirus arrived in Utah in March, hospital administrators knew they would lose revenue.

Some hospitals nationwide furloughed workers.

Employees at Intermountain were also impacted, but none lost their jobs.

“Just like everyone else, we are not immune to the impact of the pandemic,” said Rob Allen, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Intermountain Healthcare.

He said the financial impact has been unprecedented, but they have focused on the well-being of the caregivers and their patients throughout the entire process.

“One of our guiding principles from the start was to keep take-home pay for our caregivers as much as possible in place, for long as possible,” said Allen.

From March through May, surgeries at Intermountain’s 23 hospitals were reduced by 47%, inpatient admissions dropped 20%, emergency room visits declined 26%, and clinic visits dropped by 280,000, or 31%. That cut overall revenue nearly $435 million.

“When you start to shut down sections of hospitals and clinics, then our caregivers don’t have the work they normally have,” said Allen.

More than 9,000 caregivers were re-deployed to other jobs where they were needed: COVID-19 testing and answering the coronavirus hotline.

“People had a desire to keep working,” said Allen. “So we stood up a redeployment office where caregivers could connect, leaders could connect, and we could match up work with people who are available.”

Those who couldn’t be deployed were provided up to four weeks of COVID pay, and allowed paid time off balances to go into the negative by 80 hours.

COVID pay will be ending July 1 since nearly all employees have returned now to their normal jobs.

“Our caregivers have showed up in amazing ways: their care, their compassion, their commitment is phenomenal and some have heralded them as heroes,” said Allen.

To offset the losses, Intermountain will pause contributions of matching funds to employee 401(k) accounts for at least the last half of this year.

When an employee leaves the company, Intermountain will only replace critical positions.

The company will also scrutinize major expenditures and consider delays.

“We’re in a fortunate position, more so than many of the others,” said Allen. “They’ve had to take more dramatic steps as far as layoffs and removing staff. We’re doing everything we can to maintain the staff that we have, and we want to do that as we go forward.”

Caregivers were even give a planned annual increase in pay in April when so many other organizations were cutting back.

Intermountain hopes to be able to resume the 401(k) company match in January.

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Intermountain Healthcare Making Up Revenue Without Laying Off Caregivers