CEO Jim Skogsbergh announced the bonuses in a video to employees yesterday, saying they will be awarded based on the number of hours worked. The bonuses will total nearly $100 million, he said.
“Your resolve has been inspiring and your commitment, nothing short of extraordinary,” he said in the video. “Despite all the difficulties, from COVID surges to staffing shortages, you helped us exceed our safety, health outcomes and financial goals for 2021.”
Rush University Medical Center is also providing bonuses to the 750 residents and fellows in its graduate medical education program. Each will receive an extra $1,000 in their March 25 paycheck as “an acknowledgement of their outstanding effort over the last year,” Tobin Klinger, Rush’s director of media relations, said in a statement.
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Sinai Chicago also gave bonuses to all non-management clinical and non-clinical staff in November, said Vice President of Communications Dan Regan. He wouldn’t disclose specific amounts but said the bonuses went to about 2,800 workers. The extra cash was a way for Sinai Chicago to recognize employees’ “dedication and commitment to our patients and communities during the pandemic.”
As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, frontline healthcare workers, from physicians to nurses to pharmacists, have been pushed to the limit. Many hospitals have experienced staff shortages due to workers getting sick with the virus. Other employees have left the profession altogether.
In a study published Jan. 25 by New York University and University of Michigan researchers, more than half of the nearly 630 nurses surveyed reported insomnia and anxiety contributing to poor psychosocial health and burnout from June through August 2020.
While Illinois COVID cases have come down since the omicron peak of more than 40,000 in a single day earlier this month, the state still saw about 14,400 cases yesterday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Intensive care units remain overwhelmed, with about 86% of Chicago ICU beds occupied as of yesterday, according to the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Chicago-area hospitals have lost workers, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hospital jobs in Chicago dropped from about 145,000 workers in March 2020 to a low of 139,300 workers in May 2020. Though the number of workers has grown since then, local hospitals have yet to recover all those lost. The bureau reported about 142,000 hospital jobs in the Chicago area in December.
Bonuses from healthcare systems also come during the so-called "Great Resignation," a trend in which employees are leaving their jobs at record rates. Across the country in healthcare and social assistance industries, the rate at which people have quit has steadily increased since the pandemic began, according to the BLS. Nearly 600,000 Americans quit jobs in the healthcare and social assistance industries in November, up from 400,000 in the year-earlier month.
Crain's reporter Jon Asplund contributed to this report.
This story first appeared in our sister publication, Crain's Chicago Business.