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CoxHealth has furloughed 285 employees, 183 of which have been reassigned, according to a spokesperson.
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CoxHealth has furloughed 285 employees, 183 of which have been reassigned, according to a spokesperson.

CoxHealth, Mercy work to reassign furloughed employees

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CoxHealth and Mercy are among businesses in the area to enact furloughs, though health care system officials say they're quickly working to reassign employees.

At CoxHealth, 183 of 285 employees who were furloughed have been shifted to other positions in the health care system, said spokeswoman Kaitlyn McConnell. CoxHealth CEO Steve Edwards previously said no layoffs were expected.

"While the hospital is beginning to sustain considerable losses, we are grateful that over decades, we built sufficient cash reserves to weather this storm," McConnell said via email. "That said, we are trying to manage hours since hospital volumes have been cut in half."

Mercy Springfield Communities spokeswoman Sonya Kullmann said via email a "very low" number of employees have been furloughed, declining to disclose a specific number.

"The average amount of furlough pay for our affected co-workers has been 13 hours," she said. "In other words, on average, it’s taking us less than two days to reassign them."

Both CoxHealth and Mercy have created programs to help affected employees.

McConnell pointed to $3.7 million in previously announced funds to help employees with paid time off and expenses. She also said front-line employees still are still in line for annual raises.

Mercy today announced a furlough pay program and a paid time off bank. According to a news release, the furlough pay program provides up to 80 hours of pay to impacted employees. The PTO bank allows workers to draw from an additional fund once their existing paid time off has been exhausted. Colleagues also can donate time to the PTO bank.

“We also know we’ll have additional needs within the hospital if we get a surge of patients,” said Laura Starks, vice president of human resources for Mercy Springfield Communities, in the release. “We’ve created more than 100 new clinical and nonclinical positions, and we’re actively filling those roles with co-workers from other areas. They will receive their regular pay in those temporary positions.”

Dave Dillon, spokesman for the Missouri Hospital Association, said hospital revenues may be falling by $32 million per day. He said he was unable to provide local data.

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