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Workforce at area hospitals feel impact of pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the workforce of local health care providers.

Certain employees at UPMC Susquehanna may not be asked to report to work or be told to work in other areas, depending on the hospital needs related to the pandemic.

“Staff members may be redeployed to assist with emerging and critically needed work in areas other than their usual work sites,” said Tyler Wagner, a hospital spokesman. “Other staff may be asked not to report to work, depending on UPMC’s needs related to the pandemic, yet they may be called back on short notice.”

The fluid situation applies if they are assigned to alternative work during their regular hours, he said.

Under the pay protection program, paychecks continue for workers at least through May 9, said Jeffrey A. Romoff, president and CEO, UPMC.

“UPMC staff will continue to receive their pay through May 9,” he said. “The pay protection program is a commitment to our valuable staff.”

UPMC Susquehanna workforce comprises 5,450 employees working in six hospitals and at clinics and outpatient facilities, Wagner said.

Overall, UPMC has 89,000 employees working in 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, Romoff said.

Meanwhile, Geisinger Medical Center said it’s exploring ways to reassign staff in areas of need, but would not make any staffing changes that impact the delivery of critical, lifesaving care.

“There are no furloughs to date,” said Marc Stempka, a Geisinger spokesman.

“We understand these are unprecedented circumstances for employees and we have takens several measures, such as creating a child care program, granting immediate access to sick time for those impacted by COVID-19, enhancing work-from-home capabilities and much more to accommodate the unique challenges our employees are facing,” he said.

At Evangelical Community Hospital, Lewisburg, 400 workers were temporarily furloughed while the crisis continues, said Deanna Hollenbach, a hospital spokeswoman. The hospital employs 1,900 people, she said.

“Furloughs were across the board,” she said. “We also are doing some stepping back of employee hours. This is temporary.”

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