Medical staffing company cut salary, benefits for medical staffs fighting coronavirus: report | TheHill

A major medical staffing company that employs emergency room doctors and nurses is cutting salaries and benefits for employees who are treating coronavirus patients, according to an investigation by ProPublica

Though hospitals remain full, both staffing and insurance companies have lost money during the pandemic because most elective procedures have been postponed to make room for coronavirus patients.

That has cut into the profits for hospitals and insurance companies.

“Despite the risks our providers are facing, and the great work being done by our teams, the economic challenges brought forth by COVID-19 have not spared our industry,” Steve Holtzclaw, the CEO of Alteon Health, one of the largest staffing companies, wrote in a memo to employees obtained by ProPublica. 

Holtzclaw also predicted that other companies would do the same, saying: “You can be assured that similar measures are being contemplated within these organizations and will likely be implemented in the coming weeks.”

However, another major staffing company, TeamHealth, told ProPublica they do not plan to cut staff.

These companies received benefits in the $2 trillion stimulus bill passed last week, including deferring payroll taxes, suspending reimbursement cuts and receiving advance Medicare payments.

The memo added that they will be reducing hours for clinicians, cutting pay for administrative employees by 20 percent and suspending 401(k) matches, bonuses and paid time off. Some employees were told that they were going to be switched from full-time to part-time status. 

Clinicians who talked to ProPublica under the condition of anonymity called the move “completely demoralizing,” noting they are putting both their own health and the health of their family in jeopardy by treating COVID-19 patients. In recent weeks reports have shown medical staff often treat patients of the infectious disease without proper protective gear. 

“A lot of sacrifices are being made on the front line that the administration is not seeing because they’re not stepping foot in a hospital,” they said. “I’ve completely lost trust with this company.”

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