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Providence to cut hours and slash executive pay

Providence Health & Services, which employs more than 1,700 people in Southern Oregon, will trim hours of employees who don’t directly treat patients as part of a wave of cost-cutting measures starting next week.

Citing a drop in revenue and a spike in expenses earlier this spring — particularly for protective equipment — the nonprofit health care system behind Providence Medford Medical Center and clinics in Medford and Central Point is cutting executive pay, putting managers and directors on furlough, and reducing the hours of employees who don’t directly interact with patients by roughly 30 percent, according to Providence Oregon Communications Director Gary Walker.

The number of local employees who will be furloughed was not immediately available, but Walker said that in Oregon there are 600 “core leader” employees — manager, director and other leadership titles — who will take one-week unpaid furloughs between May 17 and July 31.

Doctors, nurses and other patient-facing employees are largely exempt from the cuts, with the exceptions being directors who occasionally work with patients.

“The focus of the reductions is on those that are not patient facing,” Walker said.

Providence Health & Services employs more than 23,000 people in Oregon across its eight hospitals and 100 clinics, making it the state’s largest private employer, according to Walker, including 1,739 employees in Southern Oregon.

Other staff departments that don’t directly interact with patients, such as business office or communications staff, will see their hours trimmed. Caregivers with reduced hours will be able to file for unemployment or use the bulk of any paid time off.

Providence’s Oregon health care revenues dropped after pausing nonemergency medical procedures in mid-March and April in compliance with Gov. Kate Brown’s orders, which were meant to preserve dwindling stocks of protective equipment and to prepare hospitals for potential surges in COVID-19 patients.

“We’ve seen our gross revenue drop more than 40 percent,” Walker said.

At the same time, Providence faced “skyrocketing” costs for personal protective equipment such as face masks.

The governor lifted the ban on elective surgeries May 1, and Walker said the Providence health care system resumed elective surgeries May 4. Walker said there are signs that patient volumes have gone up, but it’s too soon for any definitive numbers.

“We’re on our second week,” Walker said.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.

Providence Medford Medical Center