Ephraim McDowell Health (EMH) has responded aggressively over the last few weeks in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Thanks to the hard work of our Associates and physicians the logistics and clinical support are firmly in place to screen, identify, and treat patients with confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19 at our hospitals as well as EMH clinics.
While preparing for the predicted surge in COVID-19 patients, EMH has taken actions to keep our patients safe by postponing all elective surgeries and screening diagnostic procedures. Additionally, non-emergent procedures and tests have been postponed until further notice. EMH has fully complied with the mandates from Governor Andy Beshear and the CDC recommendations aimed at reducing the spread of the virus.
The consequences of following these directives have resulted in significant decline over the last three weeks in patient visits at our clinics, ancillary services and within our hospitals. Sadly, those numbers are not projected to improve in the near future and no one knows how long this pandemic will continue. Therefore, we are forced to take immediate steps to manage the operational impact of COVID-19.
We realize that EMH has a tremendous impact on our Associates and our community. It’s not a decision we take lightly, but we have to take immediate steps to ensure that we can sustain our operations after the COVID-19 crisis ends. We, like all institutions, must conserve our financial resources in order to care for our communities until this crisis abates.
Beginning April 10, EMH will furlough approximately 20% of its 1,700+ Associates throughout the system. The furloughs are intended to be temporary. We will recall our Associates as quickly as possible and continually evaluate the situation.
Furloughed Associates will keep their current positions and will return as needed to respond due to any surge of COVID-19 patients. Associates will be eligible to file for unemployment insurance benefits and will retain their current elected EMH benefits.
I appreciate the tremendous sacrifices our Associates have and are making so we can continue our mission and care for our patients in this time of uncertainty. We will get through this together!!
EMH President and CEO