Bronson Healthcare System Initiates COVID-19 Recovery Plan
Bronson Healthcare has shared with employees and medical staff its plans to recover from the financial downturn brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like other health systems across the nation, Bronson has seen its expenses rise significantly due to preparations and purchases related to COVID-19. At the same time, the health system is experiencing losses in revenue due to the suspension of elective surgeries and procedures, temporary closings of some services, as well as reduced diagnostic tests, office visits and emergency department visits as patients remain at home.
Bronson is pursuing opportunities for financial reimbursement and grants, including FEMA reimbursement, CARES Act relief grants and other state and federal relief opportunities, however, the timing of these is unpredictable.
Predictive models now seem to indicate southwest Michigan may experience ongoing community spread of COVID-19 into the fall rather than an overwhelming surge this spring, assuming responsible social distancing continues after the Governor’s order expires.
Bronson is prepared for a surge, but is hoping for the best. The health system appreciates how community members are providing financial and supply donations and doing their part to social distance and flatten of the curve. These efforts have contributed to Bronson having a manageable number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 (data is posted on bronsonhealth.com) along with adequate staffing and supply levels to meet their needs at this time.
Bronson President and CEO Bill Manns says, “We are working to adapt to continuing COVID-19 care while still safely serving all of our patients. We are starting to ramp up surgeries and other procedures within the scope of the Governor’s order with a goal of having our hospitals back to 100% by September and our practices, many of which have been doing video visits, at 100% by August. If we can do it sooner, we will. However, the availability of enough PPE to ensure the safety of our staff and patients in all settings continues to be a limiting factor.”
Since services won’t ramp up all at once, and current losses need to be covered, Bronson Healthcare is also taking actions to decrease expenses. Cost saving measures announced this week include:
- A 25% CEO salary reduction and reductions at decreasing percentages proportionate to salary levels for all Bronson executives and Bronson leaders through August 15. Bronson Medical Group providers will also participate in a salary reduction.
- Core contributions to employee retirement accounts and 403b/401k matches are suspended for the remainder of the year. Employees can still make personal contributions.
- Due to the work slowdown, furloughs will be implemented over the next few weeks for several hundred mostly non-clinical employees. The furloughs are expected to be for 16 weeks, however, some employees may be called back sooner as their areas ramp back up.
Bronson continues to proceed with major projects in development including seven offices for Bronson Primary Care Partners which will open on July 1, the new lab at Bronson Methodist Hospital opening in late July, and the Bronson Cancer Pavilion in Kalamazoo and new Bronson South Haven Hospital which are both slated to open in early 2021.