Detroit Medical Center Announces Layoffs During Coronavirus

(WWJ) While images abound of doctors and nurses exhausted after endless shifts helping coronavirus patients and others in the midst of an emergency, that's not the entire story.

For institutions like the Detroit Medical Center, the crisis also involves furlough of hospital workers.

The DMC announced furloughs for some employees Wednesday morning. How is that possible at a time when Sinai Grace workers posted pictures of packed hospital corridors and a 1,000-bed field hospital was built just down the street to handle a projected overflow of patients?

DMC explains: "With stay-at-home orders and government restrictions on elective procedures, some hospital units – which are not related to the COVID-19 crisis or other critical patient care needs – have been temporarily closed or ramped down. We have taken steps to divert additional resources to COVID-19 care and other urgent medical procedures that cannot be deferred. This includes reducing costs, and hours worked, and implementing furloughs of certain jobs, where needed." 

This furlough impacts approximately 480 workers.

DMC says it is providing all furloughed employees with medical benefits at no cost to them, covering the employee and employer contributions of premiums for medical, employee/spouse critical illness and supplemental life during this time.

"In addition, we are offering information to impacted employees so that they may access salary protection through enhanced state unemployment benefits that are available to them. For many roles, these benefits could provide eligible individuals with a significant majority of their income as a replacement," the hospital said.

The hospital added these actions do not impact direct bedside nursing care for COVID-19 and do not impact emergency or medically necessary care access for patients with other medical conditions. "We remain appropriately staffed to provide our full support to treat patients in greater Detroit," the DMC annouced.

How long will the furloughs last? There's no timetable except that it will happen when "our core business gets back to normal."