Mary Free Bed furloughed 20% of staff amid coronavirus

Coronavirus
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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids says it furloughed 400 workers in response to decreased operations linked to coronavirus.

The employees off the job as of April 12 account for 20% of the workforce, Mary Free Bed said.

The hospital says that it has fewer patients coming in because there are no elective surgeries happening and fewer trauma cases.

It also stopped all but essential face-to-face outpatient appointments to comply with state mandates. The hospital said it was able to scheduled virtual visits, but overall outpatient numbers are down.

Mary Free Bed is working to keep paying furloughed workers as close to 75% of their normal pay as possible, with unemployment benefits helping make that possible. The furloughed employees are keeping their health and life insurance through June 30.

Senior executives are taking a 25% pay cut and won’t get any merit increases this year.

Mary Free Bed said it’s looking into whether additional furloughs may be necessary.

Other hospitals have made similar moves: Oakland Hospital in Marshall laid off 200 workers and gave other pay cuts, Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy furloughed 2,500 employees, and Spectrum Health administrators took large pay cuts and stopped matching contributions to retirement accounts, among other things.

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