The Medical University of South Carolina is temporarily laying off 900 employees across all of its hospitals and clinics in response to the financial pressure that COVID-19 has placed on the health care system, according to a news release.
In addition to hospitals and clinics in the Lowcountry, the decision affects the hospitals that MUSC acquired last year in Florence, Marion, Chester and Lancaster.
Since the start of the new coronavirus outbreak in South Carolina, MUSC has seen a 75% decrease in surgeries, a 30% decrease in inpatient visits and a 70% decrease in ambulatory visits, the news release said.
“As a result, MUSC leadership is taking action to fortify the health system and diminish continued financial damage caused by this public health crisis,” MUSC said in the release. “Every action is linked to maintain the short- and long-term capability and viability of the health system.”
MUSC is also reducing pay for its leadership by 20%, cutting pay for salaried employees by 15% and reducing work hours for hourly employees who do not provide direct patient care.
In addition to layoffs and pay cuts, MUSC is transitioning 80% of ambulatory and outpatient visits to telehealth; reducing purchased and contractual services; and delaying capital expenditures.
“There are no easy solutions here,” MUSC said. “No one wants or likes to make difficult decisions that have negative effects on members of our MUSC Health family. It’s important to understand that these decisions impact everyone.”
The hospital system said that frontline health care workers will not see any additional pay cuts in order to ensure MUSC is prepared to continue facing the coronavirus outbreak.