Dear HCA Healthcare Colleagues,
I understand how much anxiety this pandemic creates for you, your colleagues, and so many others across the nation. It is truly an unprecedented time with immense challenges and uncertainties for individuals, families, communities, companies, and even governments. When we started our planning to respond to this massive public health emergency, we did it with the goal of protecting our employees and protecting our physicians so that we could best serve our patients. This protection included clinical guidelines, training, and PPE, but as importantly, protection for our employees from loss of job. So far, we have achieved that goal, and now we will continue to support you with our pandemic pay continuation programs.
Over the past few weeks, we have experienced significant drops in patient volume as a result of COVID-19. Many of our outpatient facilities, clinics, and departments have closed. These circumstances have created situations where we do not have enough patients to support our workforce. Naturally, this has resulted in a reduction of hours for many of you. Our belief, at this time, is that these volume declines are temporary, and we hope we can return to taking care of more patients sometime in May, which should lead to scheduling work for you.
At HCA Healthcare, above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life. In most instances, this mission revolves around our patients, as it should. But, it also revolves around you. It revolves around our physicians. And, it revolves around our communities. HCA Healthcare is fundamentally people taking care of people in need. I commit to that every day, and it is what inspires me to do even better in my job as CEO.
Many companies have had to use furloughs or even layoffs to deal with the dire economic consequences caused by this pandemic. We are not in that financial position and hope to avoid having to take these measures. We value you and the incredible commitment, care, and compassion you provide our patients. We are equally committed to you, and therefore, we have made the following decisions to support you during this time of crisis.
For full-time and part-time colleagues with reduced hours in clinical or non-clinical facilities or support services:
In closure or call-off scenarios, we will work with you first to identify redeployment opportunities to keep team members working where volume levels are high.
Those who cannot be redeployed will be eligible for a special pandemic pay program that continues paying 70 percent of base pay for up to 7 weeks (March 29th – May 16th). This is not a furlough. Instead, it is a pay continuation program to assist colleagues until we better understand the long-term implications of this pandemic on the organization. This program will also apply to our colleagues in areas that support the facilities.
A similar plan will be implemented for division and corporate offices, as many projects have been delayed or cancelled.
For colleagues working in patient care facilities:
If a colleague is quarantined per the CDC guidelines and works in a patent care facility, we will pay 100 percent of base pay for scheduled hours regardless of where the exposure took place. Any colleague who does not work in a patient care facility and is quarantined per CDC guidelines may be eligible for short term disability, or leave of absence, while they are ill.
Additionally, we will offer scrub laundering for those of you who care for COVID-19 patients protecting you from potentially carrying the virus home on your clothing. By late this week, we will have worked out the details with four major hotel chains to provide housing for caregivers who provide care to COVID-19 patients and prefer not to go home to their loved ones after their shifts.
Although not a pay program, this past weekend we initiated a new universal masking policy at all of our hospitals. We will complete implementation of this policy across the company today. We are excited about this program as it will help with social distancing and provide additional protection for you and our patients.
And finally, there are many other benefits already in place to provide options for child or elder care, free Doctors on Demand telemedicine to assist when you cannot get in to see your regular provider, HCA Hope Fund grants for colleagues with proven financial needs, and emotional support and counseling services. Visit HCAhrAnswers.com for additional details.
Your local leadership team will provide more detailed information about these support programs. Your safety and well-being is important. I hope you will find some comfort in knowing these programs are available to you as we meet this challenge head-on.
As part of this effort, the HCA Healthcare senior leadership team will take a 30 percent cut in pay until the pandemic passes. I will also donate 100 percent of my pay in April and May to the HCA Hope Fund, and believe other senior leaders will make significant contributions to it also. Our Board of Directors has also waived their cash compensation for the remainder of the year allowing the company to make an additional contribution to the HCA Hope Fund.
On behalf of the Board of Directors and the corporate team, I want to thank you for your unwavering commitment to our patients, your tremendous sacrifice and hard work, and your dedication to each other. You truly make a difference. Through it all, HCA Healthcare will be a better organization, a stronger organization, and even more resilient. Together, we will overcome this challenge.