SSM Health announces financial improvement measures in response to COVID-19
SSM Health is experiencing the same financial challenges that health systems across the country – and the world – are facing. We’ve continued to invest in supplies and tools needed to respond to the pandemic, while volumes across our four-state system have decreased by roughly 50%. Our first priority is to ensure the continued health and safety of our patients, caregivers and communities. As good stewards of our ministry for both the short and the long-term, we must also take immediate steps to reduce unnecessary costs and expenses.
While we are moving forward with market-based increases for our employees, executive compensation has been frozen and we’re placing a hold on open positions that are non-critical. We’ve reduced expenses in our support functions by 20% and paused or deferred non-critical capital expense projects, while freezing discretionary expenses for the year.
After much deliberation and discernment, we’ve also determined it is necessary to place approximately 2,000 employees (roughly 5% of our workforce) on furlough across our four-state health system. Additional employees will experience partial furlough through a reduction of hours. Employees on furlough will continue to be employed by SSM Health and can return to their position at the end of the furlough period. They are also eligible to receive state and federal financial assistance due to unemployment insurance and provisions under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
In addition, once we can return to normal operations, SSM Health intends to provide a special one-time Return-to-Work Adjustment to assist with the difference in pay if an employee isn’t reimbursed their full base pay through the government unemployment programs. We hope these payments will help alleviate any financial burden this situation may place on our employees and their loved ones.
SSM Health will also cover the cost of health benefits for furloughed employees to ensure they and their families continue to have access to the health care services they need. Furloughs are expected to last 13 weeks, but employees could be brought back to work sooner as we return to normal operations.
We are confident these measures will enable us to improve organizational performance, while continuing to deliver high-quality, compassionate care for the people who need us. Following in the footsteps of our founding sisters, we must be mindful stewards of all our gifts – whether that is the talents of our team members, our provisions and supplies, or our financial resources. We do this to ensure our ability to continue meeting the needs of our friends, families and neighbors for generations to come.