Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center announced April 22 that some leadership and administrative staff members may begin furlough as early as this week.
Wake Forest Baptist said in a statement to the Winston-Salem Journal April 23 that “most employees in our health system will be participating in (changing) time or pay in some fashion.”
Dr. Julie Ann Freischlag, the center’s chief executive and medical school dean, said the furlough period would last 16 weeks. It is not clear how many furlough days or weeks employees will be required to take.
The medical center has 19,220 employees overall. It is the largest employer in Forsyth County.
The memo said that management, from the vice presidential level and above, and department chairs will take pay reductions of between 20% and 30% during the furlough period.
Steps that are being taken are designed so clinical, patient-facing, full-time employees should not be affected.
“We have carefully designed this plan to provide some continuous income and benefits (even if hours drop below what typically qualifies) for our employees,” Freischlag said.
Wake Forest Baptist indicated that they do not anticipate any additional layoffs or pay cuts for employees in the near future and said furloughs will be taken at varying levels over the next four months.
The N.C. Healthcare Association said that, based on March alone, North Carolina hospitals combined have: foregone $800 million in revenue for elective procedures; added $135 million in excess supply and labor costs per month; and absorbed $82 million in expenses to protect health-care workers and patients.
Meanwhile, the medical center also announced it plans to resume elective patient surgeries this month.
Dr. Wayne Meredith, chairman of surgery for Wake Forest Baptist, said he believes “a coordinated approach (with Novant and Atrium Health) benefits our patients and staff and ensures an adequate supply of personal protective equipment to keep patients and staff safe.”
“We have begun to evaluate specific patients as candidates to move forward. We plan to start resuming some of the surgeries and procedures that have been delayed, starting with those patients whose needs are the most urgent.”