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Hospital announces pay cuts, furloughs due to virus

by KIANNA GARDNER
Daily Inter Lake | April 13, 2020 2:00 PM

Citing concerns over steep declines in revenue due to the coronavirus, officials with Kalispell Regional Healthcare on Monday announced hospital executives, physicians and executive directors will be taking salary cuts, and about 600 employees may experience a reduction in hours and shifts as part of a system-wide furlough.

The adjustments are “effective immediately,” according to a press release.

“The compounding effect of the loss of patient volumes, cancellation of elective surgeries, and the closure of the entire service lines has had a tremendous financial impact on KRH,” Kalispell Regional Healthcare President and Chief Executive Officer Craig Lambrecht said in a prepared statement. “Cost-cutting efforts have been underway, but unfortunately those efforts alone cannot remedy the significance of these losses at a time when we must safeguard a clinical stabilization program.”

Lambrecht stressed the importance of “acting quickly.” According to the press release, the hospital system projects revenue losses in excess of $16 million per month, which could “jeopardize the organization’s ability to serve the long-term health needs of our community.”

With no definitive timeline for how long the pandemic will last, Kalispell Regional will continue to offer furloughed employees health insurance benefits until Aug. 31. The hospital will also facilitate access to other wage-replacement alternatives, including enhanced unemployment benefits and the KRH Foundation’s Employee Crisis Fund, which provides financial support for employees in need.

Over the coming days, managers will also be working with all of those affected by furlough or reduced hours to assist them with the transition.

“I am confident that we will ramp back up quickly once it is safe to do so,” Lambrecht stressed. “It is my hope that everyone can weather this uncertain time and emerge safe and well.”

According to the press release, Kalispell Regional is one of many hospitals nationwide that have been impacted by this “unprecedented” event. Major news organizations have documented these impacts in just about every corner of the nation as a sharp decline in revenue meets an increase in costs to secure additional equipment, staff and other coronavirus-related needs.

Reporter Kianna Gardner can be reached at 758-4407 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com