MCH and ORMC have furloughed nearly 100 employees

Published: Apr. 7, 2020 at 6:52 PM CDT
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While local hospitals fight back against the coronavirus, many of the elective procedures that bring in money have stopped. That has led to dozens of employees being temporarily laid off.

“You have outpatient surgeries that have gone to nothing because the governor has shut those down,” Medical Center Hospital CEO Russell Tippin said. “When you shut the revenue off to certain areas, you have to find a place to put those staff.”

MCH has moved some employees to other positions or had them work fewer hours, but Tippin says about 30 people have been furloughed.

“We’re in such a regulated industry that its hard,” Tippin said. “You can’t take a pharmacist and put them in radiology. And you can’t take a radiologist and put them in pharmacy.”

Odessa Regional Medical Center is facing similar problems.

“We furloughed about 60 employees,” ORMC President Stacey Brown said. “We’ve had about another 50 who are on reduced hours.”

Employees who have been furloughed are able to apply for unemployment, and still job receive benefits.

The hospital leaders did not have a time frame for when those employees may be needed or asked to come back to work.

“Anytime you’re talking about your employees’ livelihood it’s a very difficult decision,” Brown said. “Even though they’re not here and in front of us every day, that doesn’t mean our hearts and thoughts are not with them at home.”

Both hospitals want people to know that the staff changes won’t impact patient care.

“We want the community to trust us when they’re sick,” Tippin said. “No matter what it is, we want to be the healthcare of choice, and therefore we will not compromise on patient safety.”