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WGLT's reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, which began in McLean County in March 2020.

Some OSF Employees To Face Unpaid Leave As Revenue Sinks

OSF exterior
Jeff Smudde
OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria.

OSF HealthCare said Tuesday that some employees will be forced to take unpaid leave or use their paid time off as the system faces a substantial decline in revenue tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

OSF, based in Peoria, acknowledged the “unusual” nature of the budget shortfall. Hospitals are indeed seeing drastic increases in COVID-19 patients. But like other health care providers, OSF said its inpatient services, surgeries, clinic, and Urgo volumes have all "decreased significantly over the last three weeks," cutting into revenue. The governor’s stay-at-home order began March 21.

OSF said “most non-patient-facing” employees will be subject to “mandatory paid time off or, in some cases, unpaid leaves of absence, during which they can apply for the enhanced unemployment benefits enacted by the government.” Employees will retain their seniority and health benefits, according to OSF.

OSF said its executive salaries will be reduced by at least 5%.

“It is important for the communities OSF has been called to serve for more than 142 years that we stabilize our financial position and protect our culture so we can continue to serve those communities, and our (employees) and their families in Illinois and Michigan,” said Mike Allen, OSF’s chief financial officer. “Our priority remains equipping our frontlines with the resources they need to ensure the continuation of essential care, while protecting those providing that care.”

Other employees, including non-clinical staff, may be able to move into “pandemic health worker roles” supporting OSF’s digital response to COVID-19.

OSF has over 23,600 employees, including 1,400 in Bloomington-Normal, where it operates St. Joseph Medical Center. OSF Saint Francis hospital is in Peoria.

In an interview last week, St. Joseph Medical Center chief medical officer Dr. Paul Pedersen said the loss of elective surgeries was hurting revenue.

"We’re challenged like everybody else is challenged," he said. "When you look at the pictures of Chicago, New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, you see these hospitals chock full of patients. And we’re not. And the other hospitals in our ministry, many of them are in a similar situation. We’re preparing, and we’re doing the things we need to do to take care a large influx of very sick patients. But we’re not seeing that yet. So we’re having those financial income challenges just like everybody else who’s not seeing a volume that they have seen in the past.”

The system has 14 hospitals, 30 urgent care locations, and two colleges of nursing throughout Illinois and Michigan.

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