Aspirus to temporarily furlough, reduce hours, effective May 1, 2020
WAUSAU, Wis. (Wednesday, April 22) – Aspirus reported today that it must temporarily furlough or reduce work hours of some employees, effective May 1, 2020, because of the organizational impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes will primarily impact employees who do not work in direct patient care.
“This is the most difficult decision our leadership team has ever made,” said Aspirus President & Chief Executive Officer Matthew Heywood. “Our staff and caregivers are doing an excellent job building Aspirus into a national health care leader, but COVID-19 is reducing our business volumes. These drastic actions are ones we hoped to avoid but must take to ensure we can continue to serve our communities throughout this pandemic and for generations after.”
As health systems nationwide implemented major, rapid changes to prepare for a surge of COVID-19 patients, Aspirus was on the leading edge of this work. Aspirus has been collaborating with state and local health agencies and following rapidly evolving guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a system, Aspirus:
•Established alternative screening sites to protect staff and community members from exposure.
•Implemented aggressive visitor restrictions at all facilities.
•Greatly expanded Intensive Care Units and negative pressure capacity at all system hospitals.
•Canceled non-urgent procedures and appointments.
•Developed in-house COVID-19 testing capability at Aspirus Wausau Hospital.
•Consolidated and temporarily closed some physician clinics.
•Secured large purchases of Personal Protective Equipment and implemented appropriate staff training and conservation measures.
Aspirus’ No. 1 priority remains protecting the community from this unprecedented pandemic. Despite the staffing changes that will take effect in May, Aspirus will continue to provide excellent, compassionate, and safe services to all who need care.
Furloughed employees can continue their Aspirus health insurance and other benefits, and they may be recalled at any time to meet staffing needs.
“We care deeply about our team members, and our goal is to bring them back as soon as volumes allow us to do so,” Heywood said.