Legacy Health System Requires Staff To Take Time Off In COVID Cuts

By Kristian Foden-Vencil (OPB)
Portland, Ore. April 30, 2020 7:05 p.m.

Staff at the Legacy Health System are being required to take a minimum of 10 days off, to make up for losses associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Legacy chief financial officer Anna Loomis estimates revenue is down 40% as patients stay away because they don’t have the virus and they don’t want to get in the way. That’s why staff are being asked to take time off.


“Those that have paid time off in their bank, they can use that to be paid while they’re off. There will be some employees that have to take unpaid time. We expect that to be minimal,” said Loomis.

Legacy’s top executives are also taking pay cuts of between 20% and 30%.

Now that Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has allowed elective procedures again, Loomis is hoping patients will return.


“We want people to come,” she said. “If they have symptoms that show they should come to the emergency room, or get the surgery they had scheduled before this, it’s 100 percent safe for them to come.”

Loomis said the health system has put place in robust procedures to make sure there’s no mixing of patients with and without the coronavirus.

Legacy issued a statement saying it remains focused on the safety of patients and preserving jobs, “Legacy’s leadership first focused on non-labor financial improvement strategies to bridge our fiscal gap including, but not limited to, securing available local, state and federal emergency funds; instituting a hiring freeze for all non-COVID-19 related positions; freezing non-COVID-19 related capital expenditures, and re-evaluating all non-labor expenses.”

Related: Oregon Hospitals Work Toward Reopening To Non-Emergency And Elective Procedures

The health system said its strategy is to prioritize the highest savings for the organization with the lowest possible adverse impact to employees and the community.

Last week Oregon Health & Science University reduced executive and employee salaries. That was after it saw patient numbers drop 40%.

Some of Oregon’s rural hospitals have seen even bigger drops — as high as 70%.

The federal CARES Act includes money for hospitals. But Oregon hospitals receive less than some states because it has a higher percentage of Medicare Advantage patients.