Intermountain Healthcare is cutting physician pay and reviewing shift assignments as it braces for the financial toll of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We all know that we're in a dynamic and challenging environment with this pandemic," Dr. Mark Briesacher, Intermountain's senior vice president and chief physician executive, said in a video obtained by Modern Healthcare. "And we're mindful of the personal impact on everyone, especially the thousands of physicians and caregivers whose daily work has been postponed, canceled or seen a decline. This is a critical time for physicians to be flexible to the changing conditions created by COVID-19."
Briesacher did not offer specifics in the video, but said compensation guidelines and contracts will be amended to create "flexibility" and shift and salary models will be reviewed as work is rerouted to the areas of most need.
Briesacher also said that some physicians and advance practice providers on RVU compensation models are seeing a decline of 30-50% of clinical work. As a result, Intermountatain will make adjustments for those clinicians on May 31 to "mitigate the impact of reduced work."
Intermountain officials did not immediately respond for comment.
The changes will be reviewed roughly every two months, Briesacher said, adding that the goal is to help clinicians work and have a stable income.
The Utah Department of Health on March 24 instituted restrictions on elective and non-essential procedures. That move builds on a March 18 guidance from the CMS which urged providers to curtail elective and non-essential services.
As of March 28, Utah had 602 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two deaths. More than 11,000 people had been tested, according the health department.
Intermountain's medical group includes more than 2,400 employed physicians and advanced practice providers. The system reported an operating income of $547.1 million on revenue of $7.72 billion in 2018.
The Salt Lake City-based health system is not alone in having to confront the pandemics dramatic toll on revenue-generating service lines. Also citing lower patient volumes, Illinois-based DuPage Medical Group has implemented a reduced work schedule policy, under which employees will take unpaid time away from work or use "accrued and available vacation time," according to an internal memo obtained by Modern Healthcare's sister publication Crain's Chicago Business.
St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead, Ky. announced on March 26 that it will furlough 300 employees who are not involved in direct patient care to maintain its financial security after the COVID-19 pandemic.