Monument Health furloughs 200 workers

Monument Health will furlough 200 workers due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Monument Health)

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - Two hundred Monument Health workers are being furloughed, according to a memo from Paulette Davidson, Monument Health president and CEO.

With the focus on the COVID-19 pandemic, elective surgeries were stopped March 23, causing a significant drop in revenue. Monument is also trying to preserve increasingly-scarce protective equipment for critical caregivers.

Workers who will be furloughed are primarily in non-patient care roles. The furloughs are effective April 25. It is 4 percent of Monument’s workforce. The workers still have jobs; but they won’t be able to work. Other staff that isn’t furloughed might see a reduction in work hours and Monument will delay hiring except for mission-critical positions.

“This is not a lay-off or a permanent staff reduction. During the furlough time period, caregivers first exhaust their PTO balance. Then, they may become eligible for unemployment benefits, including the COVID-19 federal unemployment benefits,” the memo stated.

Another ripple prompting the furloughs is that many every-day hospital functions have also been curtailed. Due to social distancing and people staying home, there are fewer in-patient admissions, emergency department and clinic visits. More people are also opting for telemedicine visits.

These changes, including the halting of elective surgeries, caused a 30 percent reduction in revenue since late March. That, coupled with expenses due to COVID-19 operations, puts a financial strain on Monument.

“The duration of furloughs will vary based on individual roles and responsibilities. As operations return to normal, we will work with furloughed caregivers on individual return-to-work plans,” the memo stated.

Monument’s executive team will also take a 25 percent cut in compensation.