Community Health Systems leaders and its foundation are pouring more than $3 million into a fund that provides financial support for employees experiencing catastrophic hardship, including COVID-19.
The for-profit hospital chain's CEO, Wayne Smith, is dedicating $500,000 to the CHS CARES Fund. Another roughly $1 million will come from corporate officers and regional presidents, and $300,000 from the company's directors. The CHS Foundation is contributing an added $1.25 million.
Money from the CHS CARES Fund has in the past gone to employees who've been the victims of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or sudden injuries or illnesses. Franklin, Tenn.-based CHS said it's expanding the fund to help employees affected by the coronavirus. Grants will range from $500 to $3,000.
The number of CHS employees confirmed to be COVID-19 positive is "extremely low," CHS spokeswoman Tomi Galin wrote in an email. She declined to provide a specific number. Other health systems haven't been so fortunate. Henry Ford Health System in Detroit revealed this week that more than 700 of its employees have tested positive.
Smith's contribution is coming from a 25% reduction in his $1.6 million base salary from April through the end of 2020. That's expected to yield $300,000. Smith is also making a $200,000 personal donation to the fund.
The contribution from CHS' officers and presidents will come from 10% pay cuts through the end of the year. And the company's non-management directors are forgoing 25% of their 2020 fees.
At this time, no other employees have taken pay cuts, although some employees are working reduced shifts as a result to hospital and clinic services being reduced or suspended, Galin said. CHS has not instituted significant layoffs or furloughs due to COVID-19, she said.
Smith's base salary has held steady at $1.6 million since 2015. Base salary typically comprises a small portion of his total compensation. In 2019, Smith's total compensation was $8 million, mostly coming from his incentive plan, stock awards and deferred compensation.
CHS reported a $675 million net loss to shareholders in 2019 on $13.2 billion in revenue.
Other health systems have announced moves similar to CHS amid the COVID-19 pandemic. HCA Healthcare's CEO, for example, is donating 100% of his salary for the next two months to a company fund that provides financial help and other resources to employees facing hardship.