CMC announces furloughs, reduced hours amid COVID-19 financial challenges

Measures are temporary, all workers retain benefits.

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Workers during shift change at CMC last week during a “thank you” moment staged by local first-responders. File Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

MANCHESTER, NH —The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on hospitals and healthcare workers.  Over the last several weeks, Catholic Medical Center has transformed itself to be fully prepared for COVID-19 patients. Throughout all of this, our staff have been focused, dedicated, and selfless, placing the mission to care for patients above all else.

The steps we have taken to protect public health and patient safety, however, have had a dramatic and devastating financial impact on CMC. Eliminating elective procedures and scaling back on outpatient visits, were necessary to help flatten the curve, prepare for a surge of patients, protect our patients and staff, and preserve PPE.  But those actions have resulted in more than half of our inpatient beds being empty every night. In addition, OR cases and primary care visits are down more than 60 percent. CMC lost approximately $11 million in March and we are projecting a $60-$70 million year-to-date loss by the end of June.

Tuesday morning CMC announced the difficult but temporary decision to place 423 employees on a 60-day furlough beginning Sunday, April 26.  This represents about 13 percent of our workforce.  An additional 914 employees, or 29 percent, will have hours reduced.  This includes employees whose schedules were already affected by our COVID-19 response.  Furthermore, leaders at the vice president level and above are taking a 15 percent pay cut and executive directors are taking a 5 percent cut.

“I am so proud of how our staff has stepped up to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CMC President and CEO Dr. Joseph Pepe.  “But the financial consequences of this response are astronomical, leading us to make these painful decisions. I recognize the added stress this will place on many of our valued employees and their families.  These steps are temporary, and I look forward to the day, hopefully sooner than we expect, when we are all working alongside each other again.”

CMC took several other steps to stabilize finances before arriving at this painful decision, including delaying projects, deferring payments to vendors, renegotiating contacts, and applying for federal and state aid.  Even with the receipt of federal emergency relief funds, it isn’t enough to make up for the losses caused by this pandemic.

Everyone affected will continue to receive their health insurance benefits and may use their earned time to make up for lost hours.  We will start bringing people back to their regular roles and hours as soon as it is safe to do so for our patients and staff.

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Catholic Medical Center

Catholic Medical Center (CMC), a member of GraniteOne Health, is a nonprofit acute-care hospital and regional health system based in Manchester, New Hampshire, with a commitment to delivering the highest quality and most advanced healthcare to patients across the state.