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  • Writer's pictureMLWA 7

Samaritan Healthcare to adjust budgets and expenses in result to COVID-19 pandemic

-Moses Lake, WA

Since March 1st, Samaritan Healthcare has seen a 40% decline in patient volumes, and a loss of $15 million dollars in gross patient revenue. With Governor Inslee’s proclamation that closed elective surgical procedures in mid-March and the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that was implemented on March 23rd, Samaritan has experienced significant decreases in patient volumes across the entire organization, even in areas like the Emergency Department.

Throughout March, Samaritan implemented cost-saving measures such as low-census standby pay, consolidation of roles through the organizational labor pool, and encouraging voluntary time off for all staff—all the while working diligently to prepare for a COVID-19 patient surge that never arrived.

During this time Samaritan management and leadership took a 20% reduction in compensation, and the organization began offering voluntary standby unemployment to staff members most affected by the restrictions placed on elective procedures. However, even with these efforts Samaritan experienced significant financial losses.

The organization has received $11.9 million dollars in state and federal funds, however $8 million of those dollars must be repaid by April 1, 2021, or the loan repayment is subject to 10% interest.

“When restrictions on elective surgical procedures and ‘non-essential’ services are lifted, we don’t anticipate immediately bouncing back to 100% operations, mainly because it will take time to rebuild and there will likely be requirements to prioritize patients needing care,” stated Samaritan CEO, Theresa Sullivan. “We also have been asked to ensure our operational plans include preparations for a potential spike of COVID-19 in the fall.”

Over the last several weeks, Samaritan officials have worked closely with accountants to develop different financial models related to COVID-19 operations. Even with the stimulus dollars, the models reflect a financial loss of $6.5 to $12 million dollars by the end of the year.

Announced this week, Samaritan has instituted expense reductions totaling $6.9 million dollars. These include reductions to staffing, supplies, and other expenses. Most staffing reductions were made through voluntary standby unemployment.

The breakdown of expense reductions is as follows:

  • CEO Compensation – 10%

  • Management Compensation Reductions – 9%

  • Voluntary Staff Standby Unemployment – 7%

  • Provider Compensation Reductions – 4%

Samaritan officials stated all of these reductions will be completed by Monday, May 4th.

“Samaritan is not the first hospital to implement such significant financial reductions,” stated Samaritan Chief Administrative Officer, Alex Town. “However, we will continue to closely monitor our organization’s financial performance throughout the remainder of the year and through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Samaritan CEO Theresa Sullivan shared that the organization has a goal of bringing employees back to work while also adhering to the restrictions and guidelines set forth by government health officials.

“We have an incredible team of employees here at Samaritan,” stated Sullivan. “Our plans is to work closely together with regional and state health officials so that we can continue to provide care for our community, and also ensure the financial viability of healthcare for the future of Moses Lake.”

For more information on Samaritan’s response to COVID-19 as well as resources related to symptoms, treatment, and communication please visit the Health Alert link on Samaritan Healthcare’s website. Additionally, for anyone with concerns that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, we encourage them to call our 24-hour nurse hotline at 509-764-3331.

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