Vidant Health has been at the forefront of conversations about the challenges facing health systems in rural America and especially here at home in eastern North Carolina. Like others, Vidant is faced with a traditionally underserved population with a high burden of disease, a growing number of patients relying on Medicare and Medicaid and a lack of focus on rural health policy.
These challenges have been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent weeks have undoubtedly been difficult as the world's attention has shifted to responding to this crisis and the many implications it is having on people's health and daily lives, our economy and the health care industry as a whole.
Similar to health care organizations across the country undergoing challenges due to COVID-19, Vidant is experiencing a significant decrease in volumes which is impacting revenue. To meet the real impact of COVID-19, the organization must take immediate action and adjust its workforce structure in order to support the changes in operational needs.
Effective April 26, Vidant will reduce compensation for executives and all team members through implementing furloughs, salary reductions, and schedule and shift adjustments. Vidant will also be reducing employer contributions to retirement plans by 50 percent. The reduction in salary will be tiered according to level of position, with executives taking the most significant percentage of decrease of up to 25 percent (see table below).
Salary Reduction Percentages
CEO = 25%
Chief and President = 20%
Vice President = 15%
Administrator = 10%
Director = 7.5%
Manager = 5%
Exempt Team Member = 2.5%
Vidant will monitor the health system's operations and volumes on an ongoing basis and adjust staffing plans accordingly.
"This is a financially challenging time for all health systems throughout the country. It's even more challenging for rural health care where there hasn't been enough effort made to address the unique realities we already face,"
said Michael Waldrum, MD, CEO of Vidant Health. "We must take these necessary actions to ensure Vidant is able to continue to meet its mission now and into the future."
Vidant is grateful for the community's response to the stay-at-home orders and social distancing and is hopeful the curve has been flattened enough to prevent a significant surge in COVID-19 patients.
"It's important we continue to distance ourselves, wash our hands and to do all of things that will help prevent spread of this virus,"
said Dr. Waldrum. "This crisis is far from over, but the things we are doing now will continue to make our ability to respond manageable."
Vidant is also grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by team members and providers during this unprecedented time and the outpouring of support from the community over the past month. Eastern North Carolina is resilient, and we will get through this together.
- Contact: Jason Lowry