MDH lays off, furloughs 60 employees

MCDONOUGH CO., Ill. (NEWS3) — The COVID-19 pandemic has made small businesses close its doors, kept students and teachers from the classroom and now is causing a local hospital to furlough and layoff some workers.

McDonough District Hospital said this move will affect 60 employees, but did not specify which departments this will affect.

President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the hospital, Brian Dietz, said nearly 83 percent of MDH’s revenue comes from outpatient services.

“Our approximate annual revenue for all outpatient services (i.e., laboratory, radiology, physical medicine, home health care, hospice, primary and specialty physician practices, nuclear medicine, Convenience Clinic) including elective surgeries is $63 million, which is 83% of our total net revenue,” Dietz said. “Without elective surgeries and the related supportive ancillary services, the net revenue for MDH will and has dropped precipitously to a level of not supporting our current operations.” 

Due to the drop in services, the hospital is implementing a reduction-in-force and a furlough plan for 60 workers. According to a press release sent Monday, most of the employees will be furloughed and will be the first group called back once full staffing is necessary.

“All of us at MDH will be excited to call back our incredible staff so we can restore operations to the ‘new normal’ as soon as possible,” Dietz said. “Over the last eleven days in March, the hospital was required to cancel 78 elective surgeries at a cost of $1.2 million in net revenue. This is a very stressful time for MDH. Though I am confident we will make it thru this, the uncharted waters we are navigating leaves a lot of uncertainty for all of us in determining what the future brings and what we will have to do to adjust to change.”

MDH said every employee currently covered by health insurance will receive those same benefits through June 30. The employees laid off will also receive reimbursement for all accrued vacation pay and a severance package.

“For the month of April we have every reason to expect the same result but at a much higher loss amount since it will be for a full month,” Dietz said. “It is our hope that with the “Opening Up America Again” initiative, the PPE supply will be sufficient to allow us to safely care for all of our patients, both inpatient and outpatient, without the risk of running out of vitally important PPE for our colleagues.

McDonough County Health Department is currently reporting three confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The hospital implemented a drive-thru screening station last month to test for Influenza A and B, strep and COVID-19, but patients must pre-register before showing up.

“Every day we are carefully keeping up with CDC guidance, FEMA, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois Health & Hospital Association, the McDonough County Health Department and all legislative activity at the State and Federal level to assure we are keeping pace with our collective efforts to defeat COVID-19,” Dietz said. 

MDH officials said if a person is experiencing symptoms of fever, cough or shortness of breath, they should call their primary care provider or the MDH nurse triage hotline. Patients younger than 18 will need to call their pediatrician or primary care provider. Anyone without a primary care provider, can call the MDH Family Clinic or MDH Convenience Clinic at 309-837-6937.

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