Tower Health announced today that it will begin furloughing approximately 1,000 FTEs in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health system. Impacted employees work in a range of support, administrative, and technical areas.
The COVID-19 pandemic has required Tower Health to suspend non-urgent and elective services; close many of outpatient facilities, departments, and clinics; and postpone many internal projects to allocate resources to respond to patient and community needs related to the virus. At the same time, Tower Health has experienced a 40 to 50 percent decline in revenue, along with increased expenses related to our COVID-19 response. Every health system across Pennsylvania and the nation is facing similar challenges and many others have also furloughed staff.
In a memo to employees, Tower Health Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Therese Sucher wrote: “This decision has been extremely difficult. Every employee at Tower Health is critical to fulfilling our promise of Advancing Health. Transforming Lives. and we regret that these extraordinary circumstances have forced us to take these measures.”
Health is taking a number of steps support impacted employees today and in the weeks to come. For example:
- Impacted employees will have access to all their accrued Earned Time Off (ETO) and Income Protection Time (IPT) that can be used during the furlough period.
- For furloughed employees covered under a Tower Health benefits plan, coverage will be maintained during the furlough period.
- Furloughed employees may be placed into a systemwide labor pool and offered alternative work assignments based on their experience and skillset as needs within the organization arise.
- Tower Health will not contest any employee’s application for unemployment benefits, as long as the employee remains available for recall and does not turn down a work assignment(s).
“We understand how difficult furlough may be for our impacted employees and their families,” Ms. Sucher said. “We do believe this furlough will be temporary and we look forward to the return of regular operations as soon as is safely possible.”