Aspirus to temporarily furlough, reduce hours, effective May 1

By Patrick Lynn

Aspirus reported today that it’s being forced to temporarily furlough or reduce work hours of some employees effective May 1.

The staff reductions are caused by “the organizational impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a news release from Aspirus, and affect employees who do not work in direct patient care.

“This is the most difficult decision our leadership team has ever made,” said Aspirus President & Chief Executive Officer Matthew Heywood. “Our staff and caregivers are doing an excellent job building Aspirus into a national health care leader, but COVID-19 is reducing our business volumes. These drastic actions are ones we hoped to avoid but must take to ensure we can continue to serve our communities throughout this pandemic and for generations after.”

Aspirus has been collaborating with state and local health agencies and following rapidly evolving guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Systemwide, Aspirus has already identified alternative screening sites to protect others from exposure; restricted visitation; expanded Intensive Care Units and negative pressure capacity at all system hospitals; canceled non-urgent procedures and appointments; developed in-house COVID-19 testing capability at Aspirus Wausau Hospital; and consolidated or temporarily closed some physician clinics.

Aspirus has also secured large purchases of Personal Protective Equipment and implemented appropriate staff training and conservation measures, the news release said.

Furloughed employees can continue their Aspirus health insurance and other benefits, and they may be recalled at any time to meet staffing needs.

“We care deeply about our team members, and our goal is to bring them back as soon as volumes allow us to do so,” Heywood said.