WHEELING—Due to the severe economic losses caused by a number of issues, Wheeling Hospital has made the difficult decision to reduce its workforce and will begin with a Voluntary Reduction Plan.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a $35 million impact on the hospital,” said CEO Douglass Harrison. “To date, we have received just over $22 million in CARES funding. As a result, the hospital has lost over $18 million so far this fiscal year. Not to mention the $11 million loss suffered in 2019.”
The hospital has taken several steps to help mitigate the losses, such as voluntary reductions in pay from administrative staff and physicians; a short-term elimination of retirement matching funds; low-census staffing protocols and reduction of capital spending.
The hospital is also preparing for a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice as it defends itself against a qui tam action case. That agreement will have another severe financial impact on the hospital once it is settled.
Harrison said the hospital will not survive without making these tough decisions now and continuing to find a long-term strategic partner for its ultimate survival.
“For 170 years, Wheeling Hospital has proudly served this region through discipline and prudent management of its resources,” he said. “Because of COVID-19 and the impending DOJ settlement, we have been forced to make the painful decision to eliminate staffing resources. We are hopeful that by acting now, we are assuring that the hospital continues to maintain its viability and clinical excellence to meet the ongoing needs of the community in the future.”
The hospital is offering a severance plan for anyone interested in participating in a Voluntary Reduction Plan. Employees will have until Aug. 4 to decide if they want to participate. If the Voluntary Reduction Plan fails to achieve the appropriate staff reductions, an Involuntary Reduction Plan may be implemented. The involuntary severance benefits will be less beneficial to employees.