St. Claire HealthCare in Morehead, Ky. announced on Thursday that it will furlough 300 employees who are not involved in direct patient care to maintain its financial security after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The furloughs impact about 25% of the hospital's workforce and will take place March 26. Those employees will still receive insurance and hospital officials said they hope the cuts are temporary. Other remaining staff will experience a reduction in hours.
"We realize that our actions will have a tremendous impact on our staff and our community," said Donald Lloyd II, St. Clare HealthCare's president and CEO, adding that these are "unprecedented times."
"It's not a decision we wanted to make, nor do we take it lightly, but we have to take immediate action to ensure that we can sustain our clinical operations during and after the COVID-19 crisis ends."
In the past few weeks, St. Claire HealthCare has suspended elective procedures to free up bed capacity. That has significantly reduced revenue, the system said in a statement.
St. Claire HealthCare said it will help affected employees apply for unemployment. Furloughed workers will still have insurance through the hospital.
They might also be called back in order to respond to any capacity surges and as federal or state funding becomes available.