SSM To Furlough 2000 Employees, But Will Cover Health Insurance Benefits

SSM Health has announced a host of steps they will be taking in response to the financial challenges because of COVID-19. SSM Health reported that volume at their four-state health system has decreased by roughly 50%. In order to ensure the continued health and safety of patients, caregivers and the communities, and looking at the short-term and long-term stability, SSM is  taking immediate steps to reduce unnecessary costs and expenses. SSM said, in a press release, they will be reducing expenses in support functions by 20% and paused or deferred non-critical capital expense projects, while freezing discretionary expenses for the year. 

SSM is placing almost 2,000 employees (5% of the workforce) on furlough across the system. Additional employees will experience partial furlough through a reduction of hours. Employees on furlough will continue to be employed by SSM Health and can return to their position at the end of the furlough period. They are also eligible to receive state and federal financial assistance due to unemployment insurance and provisions under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). 

In addition, once SSM is able to return to normal operations, they will provide a special one-time Return-to-Work Adjustment to assist with the difference in pay, if an employee isn’t reimbursed their full base pay through the government unemployment programs. SSM Health will also cover the cost of health benefits for furloughed employees to ensure they and their families continue to have access to the health care services they need. Furloughs are expected to last 13 weeks, but employees could be brought back to work sooner as we return to normal operations.