Pikeville Medical Center announced Friday its plan to furlough hundreds of employees.
According to a statement from PMC, the hospital will furlough 200 employees effective April 26. The move is in direct response to financial hardships prompted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital says.
“We must protect our most valuable assets, our employees, while performing our fiduciary responsibility to this institution to try to ensure its sustainability for generations to come, while still ensuring we are focused on providing the necessary healthcare for our patients,” PMC CEO Donovan Blackburn said in the statement.
PMC’s furloughs follow furloughs and layoffs at other healthcare institutions across the state, including the University of Kentucky’s hospital. Blackburn says changes to unemployment benefits on the state and federal levels will help ease the financial impact on affected employees.
“We feel that the combination of state and federal government benefits will create circumstances where the employees that we furlough will experience no negative financial impact on their base pay,” said Blackburn. “Based on information we have received to date, we believe that some people may even receive more in unemployment benefits than they were earning in wages while working.”
Employees are also allowed to use their accrued vacation time during the furlough, if they choose, the statement said. With their continued payment of the premium when due, they can also, the statement said, continue their health insurance coverage through PMC’s health plan. When they are called back to active duty, they will see no reduction of their earned vacation or sick hours as well.
“We expect and sincerely hope this furlough will have a short duration,” Blackburn said in the statement. “There is a plan to reopen hospitals. Phase one will start Monday, as the Governor will permit the opening of several departments. If all goes as planned, then Phase two will follow.”
Blackburn says he is hopeful the Governor’s plan will enable PMC to operate at an increased capacity by June or early July.
The PMC statement said an additional 55 employees were selected for furlough, but were withdrawn from the plan in anticipation of the beginning of the Governor’s Phase One plan that will allow some departments to reopen.
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Source: Mountain Top