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Samaritan Medical Center to furlough 10 percent of its workforce

Samaritan Medical Center
Samaritan Medical Center
Updated: Apr. 15, 2020 at 6:13 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Facing millions of dollars in losses, Watertown's Samaritan Medical Center has informed workers that it will furlough some of them beginning at the end of this week.

In a letter from Samaritan President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Carman, he tells caregivers, "We anticipate all departments will be impacted. However, these furloughs will not have an impact on patient care, nor will they impede our COVID-19 response plan should more cases arise locally."

(See the letter below)

No specific number of employees was mentioned. However, Carman wrote, "We expect we will need to furlough 10 percent of our staff at this point."

The furloughs are expected to last about 3 months, the letter reads.

The letter explains the coronavirus outbreak prompted the hospital to postpone elective or non-emergency procedures and caused a 40 percent drop in patient volumes.

“Initial projections show a $2 million loss in March alone, which is projected to increase to $8 million in April,” Carman said in the letter.

The letter says decisions on who will be furloughed will be made in the coming days. Workers will also be asked to volunteer to be furloughed.

If no one comes forward, Samaritan will use seniority to determine who will be furloughed, meaning junior staff will be furloughed first.

Carman said everyone who's affected will keep their job and seniority and will be able to collect unemployment and federal relief program benefits.

The furloughed workers will keep their health benefits for up to 3 months and insurance premium payments can be deferred.

“This is not a long-term plan, and this is not a layoff,” Carman writes in the letter. “We anticipate bringing all staff back to full capacity as quickly as we can to maintain the strength of our healthcare system.”

7 News reached out to Samaritan for comment on the letter. The facility issued the following statement:

“We did send an internal communication to all employees today providing them an outline of the financial impact COVID-19 has had on Samaritan. We wanted employees to understand these conversations were going to happen this week. We will not share any further details with the public until we have had the opportunity to identify and speak with each employee impacted. It is what our staff deserve and they are our priority in this personnel matter.”

Samaritan Medical Center letter
Samaritan Medical Center letter(WWNY)
Samaritan Medical Center letter
Samaritan Medical Center letter(WWNY)

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