OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – INTEGRIS Health announced to employees through email on Wednesday night that the company will begin furloughing certain caregivers as part of their response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This is devastating for many of the people working at INTEGRIS,” said Jonathan Willner, B.C. Clark Jr. Chair in Economics, Oklahoma City University.
An INTEGRIS representative said since elective, non-urgent surgeries were postponed last month, revenues have gone down by 50 percent.
In a release sent to News 4 on Thursday morning, an INTEGRIS representative said, “Caregivers not performing work for the COVID-19 pandemic or other related critical work will be furloughed.” But those employees “will be allowed to receive additional paid personal leave hours.”
Willner says a furlough of this size isn’t necessarily surprising right now.
“On the scale of the lockdown in the state and within the country, this is a small number of people who wind up in the same boat as so many thousands and hundreds of thousands, millions of people nationally,” Willner said.
But that’s not all INTEGRIS is facing. Executive employees’ base pay will be cut by 20 percent. This is for vice presidents and above. Also, INTEGRIS will not match 401k/403b for caregivers.
But the company says this decision is temporary. Saying, “When the COVID-19 surge does hit Oklahoma in the coming weeks, we will reverse this action and we will need all of our caregivers to return to work.”
An INTEGRIS employee who wishes to be anonymous tells News 4 some caregivers who are working in other areas have been given the option to work with COVID-19 patients or possibly be furloughed.
“I can understand why a lot of these hospitals and hospital groups may be doing this,” Willner said.
An INTEGRIS representative says the hospital will continue providing caregivers and their dependents medical insurance coverage. Those being furloughed will be notified no later than next week.