MARSHALL, Mich. — COVID-19 has forced some hospitals, including Oaklawn Hospital in Marshall, to make hard decisions.
Oaklawn announced it is temporarily laying off approximately 200 of its 1,150 employees, and reducing the salaries of the employees still there. Paid time off and holiday pay will also suspended.
Oaklawn Hospital President and CEO Gregg Beeg said a significant decline in patient activity created by state and federal mandates to suspend all non-emergency services led to a 60% reduction in revenue in the last two weeks.
Pay reduction will be based on tiers, with hourly and lower salary employees seeing the lowest reductions. The hospital's leadership team, which consists of eight people, will be taking a 20 percent reduction in salary.
Beeg said the goal of the cuts is to preserve cash, to keep the hospital operating during the pandemic.
He said the hospital hopes to begin recalling staff in June 2020.
"Obviously a 60% reduction with the same expense structure is not financially viable long term," Beeg said. "We have every intention of recalling the staff to the best of our ability. And it will be staggered, because not everything is going to come back online at the flick of a light switch."
As of Thursday, April 9, the hospital has seven COVID-19 patients, but Beeg said the hospital is starting to see a surge.
The hospital took in three COVID-19 patients from William Beaumont Hospital. One is still at Oaklawn recovering.
“We are not accepting anymore patients just due to the fact that we want to make absolutely sure we could serve our community needs," Beeg said.
The hospital began making changes in early March in preparation for COVID-19, including setting up a unit with 18 beds. He said they are working to expand the unit.