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MaineHealth, the state’s largest healthcare system, has temporarily reduced hours for 12 percent of its workforce and eliminated shifts for 2 percent, according to a spokesman.
But those workers will not see any loss of pay or benefits as a result, as has been the case for employees at other Maine health organizations that are putting off procedures during the coronavirus outbreak.
MaineHealth employs 22,000 people across its network of nine hospitals and outpatient care facilities in Maine and New Hampshire, including Maine Medical Center in Portland, the hospital at the center of the pandemic in Maine. In order to prepare for an influx of coronavirus patients, the organization has postponed elective surgeries and non-essential appointments, meaning some staff have seen a reduction in their workload, said spokesman John Porter.
As a result, 12 percent, or 2,640 people, are working fewer hours, and 2 percent, or 440 people, are not working at all, Porter said. They are still being compensated as if they were working their full hours, however.
“In an effort to provide financial security and assurance to our employees at a time when so much is being demanded of them, we have decided that all MaineHealth employees who are sent home for any COVID-19-related reason will receive their regular pay and benefits and will not be required to use paid time off,” said Judith West, chief human resources officer of MaineHealth.
Not all health care systems have been able to promise the same security. On Wednesday, Central Maine Healthcare said it was furloughing 330 of its approximately 3,200 employees, and high-ranking executives were taking a pay cut as it scaled back services. The organization has seen a drop in revenue as a result of the coronavirus-related measures.
For MaineHealth, “the staffing situation is very fluid” as the virus keeps spreading, said Porter, with MaineHealth.
Staffing policies are being reviewed on a monthly basis, with the next review in two weeks, according to West. The organization is also evaluating the licenses, certification and skills among its workforce and re-assigning people to new roles to support the response to the virus.
Watch: Nirav Shah on tracing the origins of coronavirus cases in Maine