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Hospital feels economic impact of COVID-19 pandemic

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) -- A local hospital helping in the fight against COVID-19 is feeling the economic impact brought on by that pandemic, and it will reportedly be making some big changes.

A statement from MercyOne, CEO Bob Ritz said, in part, “Our mission is to be a compassionate, healing ministry to transform the health of our communities, and we are making painful but necessary decisions to ensure we sustain our organization into the future."

COVID-19 has had a big impact on the country and here in Siouxland. And while hospitals have been working hard during the pandemic, they have also been hit economically.

MercyOne Siouxland Medical Center is announcing plans to adjust staffing levels and other expenses to help address the losses brought on by COVID-19.

In a statement, MercyOne CEO Bob Ritz said although the hospital has received financial support from the CARES Act -- a law intended to address the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. -- it has only managed to cover about 50-percent of their losses.

The statement goes on to say MercyOne will be implementing workforce changes such as extending furloughs, reducing schedules, and even position eliminations.

According to the statement, some of the affected staff could be among those who were furloughed because of the pandemic.

The statement also indicates, while MercyOne has invested in supplies to address the pandemic, they have taken the action of temporarily closing underutilized serves to help manage expenses.

In addition, while patients are starting to return for services, hospital administrators expect the recovery time to be gradual because there are still many unknowns with the pandemic.

The CEO of MercyOne goes on to say in the statement that he is confident that MercyOne will emerge as a strong organization after these tough times.

MercyOne employs 20,000 employees throughout Iowa.

Hospital leaders say employees affected by staffing changes will be eligible for a paid notice period, severance pay, and health and other benefits, through the severance period.

Those affected by the decisions will be informed by July 31, 2020.

Emily Schrad

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