Mercy furloughs workers, cuts jobs starting this week; unclear how many at Mercy South

%E2%80%98Code+Sunshine%E2%80%99+is+a+welcome+birthday+gift%3A+After+being+admitted+for+COVID-19+to+Mercy+Hospital+South+on+his+daughter%E2%80%99s+birthday%2C+April+2%2C+Bill+finally+went+home+last+week+with+his+wife%2C+Lynn+%E2%80%93+on+his+own+68th+birthday.+Bill%2C+a+COVID-19+patient+who+only+wanted+to+provide+his+first+name%2C+spent+three+weeks+at+Mercy+Hospital+South%2C+with+a+week+on+a+ventilator+and+two+weeks+in+intensive+care.+He+was+treated+with+convalescent+plasma+donated+by+someone+recovered+from+COVID-19.+%0AMercy+South+calls+a+%E2%80%98Code+Sunshine%E2%80%99+to+celebrate+with+COVID-19+patients+as+they+leave+the+hospital.+After+Bill+left+through+the+lobby+with+Lynn+to+cheers+from+workers+lining+the+halls%2C+some+of+his+nurses+and+therapists+signed+his+shirt+with+their+motto+%E2%80%98Stayin%E2%80%99+Alive.%E2%80%99+

‘Code Sunshine’ is a welcome birthday gift: After being admitted for COVID-19 to Mercy Hospital South on his daughter’s birthday, April 2, Bill finally went home last week with his wife, Lynn – on his own 68th birthday. Bill, a COVID-19 patient who only wanted to provide his first name, spent three weeks at Mercy Hospital South, with a week on a ventilator and two weeks in intensive care. He was treated with convalescent plasma donated by someone recovered from COVID-19. Mercy South calls a ‘Code Sunshine’ to celebrate with COVID-19 patients as they leave the hospital. After Bill left through the lobby with Lynn to cheers from workers lining the halls, some of his nurses and therapists signed his shirt with their motto ‘Stayin’ Alive.’

Mercy is furloughing employees and cutting jobs across its four-state system starting this week due to the coronavirus, but it’s unclear how many of those layoffs and job cuts will happen in St. Louis.

The furloughs will start this week and continue through the end of July, as needed, Mercy said in a statement.

“Like other health care systems across the country, Mercy is taking difficult steps to address the heavy economic consequences of the COVID-19 crisis,” the hospital system said, adding, “Our hearts go out to those impacted by these changes and the unprecedented impact of this global pandemic.

Although hospitals have been busy in intensive care units with COVID-19 patients, other elective or non-emergency surgeries and procedures have been postponed, which has caused financial hardship for most hospitals.

Employees who are furloughed will continue to receive health insurance, and an additional 80 hours of pay may be provided through Mercy’s crisis paid-time-off fund, the hospital system said. 

“Mercy is also eliminating positions at every level of the organization, impacting every department and every community we serve,” Mercy said in the statement.

Employees whose jobs are cut will receive severance packages.

Mercy declined to say how many of the furloughs or job cuts will happen in St. Louis or at Mercy Hospital South, the hospital in South County formerly known as St. Anthony’s Medical Center that was taken over by Mercy in 2018. It is one of South County’s largest employers. 

“At this time, Mercy is unable to provide numbers as we are still working to keep as many co-workers employed as possible,” Mercy said.

Top hospital executives will earn up to 26 percent less this year than last, with the most significant reductions at the senior level.

For all co-workers, 401k/403b service contributions and matches will not be made for 2020 and annual merit increases may be delayed as well. No one will be hired into open positions for the foreseeable future without approval of Mercy’s senior leadership.