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Susquehanna Life

Financial Recovery From COVID-19

Jun 29, 2020 12:49PM ● By Erica Shames

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Evangelical Community Hospital has formulated a plan to maintain its historically strong financial position while recovering from the unexpected costs the virus has had on its operations.

“During the COVID-19 response and at present, the Hospital has prudently managed expenses and remains stable and solid,” said Kendra Aucker, President and CEO of Evangelical Community Hospital. “By taking decisive action with the workforce, seeking out federal and state grants, and matching the recall of furloughed employees with patient volumes, the Hospital has mitigated some of the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on operations.”

With the organization’s new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, Hospital leaders have worked to forge a realistic, yet ambitious budget and waded through some tough choices.

“We have a shared responsibility to continue meeting the health and wellness needs of our community,” said Aucker. “Our friends, families, and neighbors have come to trust the care they receive from the Hospital and our goal in all of these difficult financial decisions has been to find ways to ensure the Hospital remains an access point for care long into the future.”

Already the Hospital has significantly reduced expenditures and reduced capital spending, deferring some planned projects to later years.

To maintain fiscal health for the long-term, the Hospital announced other steps related to employee compensation, including:

  • Delaying market adjustment and merit increases until January 2021;
  • Reducing hourly staffing incentives;
  • Reducing training hours;
  • Reducing the discretionary 401K employer contribution;
  • Reducing salaries and benefits by not filling 15.7 open fulltime positions.

In June, 27 employees opted for voluntary early retirement aiding in bridging budget gaps for the coming fiscal year and positioning the Hospital to better manage the entire workforce.

Effective June 30, 2020, the Hospital reduced its workforce by 15 employees, which equates to less than one percent. These reductions were determined an essential part of the recovery plan in order to ensure the Hospital can continue to live out its mission to the community.

The Hospital is working with the impacted employees to attempt to align them with open positions within the organization that match their skill sets and providing resources to help them find other employment outside the organization.

“These are challenging times for hospitals and health systems across the state. We are not alone in making changes to operations for financial security,” said Aucker. “Our employees are our greatest asset and we’ve always made decisions to support their value. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has forced our leadership to make decisions that impact our employees but allow us to continue as an independent Hospital that serves the community well into the future.”

Hospital leadership continues to monitor operational needs, fiscal responsibility, and ways to reduce cost while not impacting the quality of care patients deserve to receive from its community hospital.

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