Coronavirus

There’s nothing like a pandemic and an economy on the skids to cause turmoil.

In dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, hospitals and clinics across the country now are paying the price, with lost revenue as a result of limiting surgeries to emergencies, clinics closed and few procedures being performed.

Altarum, a nonprofit research and consulting firm, reported in early April that 43,000 health care workers across the country had been laid off in the first month of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In Bell County, three of the larger hospitals are protecting staff salaries — at least until the end of May.

Three officials from local medical systems spoke about furloughs and layoffs during Thursday’s news conference at the Bell County Courthouse in downtown Belton.

Baylor Scott & White

“… (O)ur organization has guaranteed everyone’s reimbursement, everyone’s salaries through the end of May,” said Dr. Robert Greenberg, Baylor Scott & White-Central Texas Division’s chief medical officer of medical services.

“When we say furlough, we mean people are allowed to go home, but they are still being paid,” he said of East Bell County’s largest employer.

This has been a huge financial hit for all health care providers, Greenberg said.

“The reality is that we’re looking at our finances,” he said. “There are no current plans for what’s going to happen.”

Baylor Scott & White does have openings in the system for primarily health care providers, Greenberg said.

The local health care system is hiring primarily for clinical positions. There are more than 300 positions available in the Central Texas area, according to information for Baylor Scott & White–Temple. Visit https://jobs.bswhealth.com/ for information of jobs.

AdventHealth

“We also have protected and maintained the wholeness of our team members by not having any layoffs or furloughs,” Kevin Roberts, CEO and president of AdventHealth Central Texas, said.

That’s across 80,000 team members in 50 hospitals in the United States.

“We guarantee our employees they will receive their base pay through June 6,” Roberts said. “This required a lot of creativity and what we call redeployment in the hospital. Nurses are doing temperature checks or drive-through screening and all sorts of stuff. But the spirit and cooperation of our team members have been extraordinary.”

AdventHealth has offered child care, mental health care and facilities for employees to shower before going home.

The coronavirus has changed how health care is provided now and probably into the future, Greenberg said.

“We do not have any solid plans right now,” he said. “We are definitely looking to see how we can remain viable just like every other business in this state.”

Seton Medical Center

“We’re pretty much in the same boat,” said Calee Travis, chief nursing officer at Seton Medical Center Harker Heights.

ArdentHealth Services owns Seton Medical Center Harker Heights, which has guaranteed furloughed Seton employees their paychecks and benefits for the time being.

“We’re hoping to bring them back as our volume increases,” she said. “At this point, it’s a question as to what’s going to happen.”