Samaritan Health in Watertown cuts positions to close $10M budget gap

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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is being blamed by Samaritan Health officials for a decision to layoff 51 employees and leave another 44 positions unfilled.

Twenty-one employees already on furlough will have their furloughs extended, but will be called back when patient volume improves.

In a news release, Samaritan said “The shortfall is a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in patient volumes dropping by as much as 40 percent at certain points throughout the year, higher costs for PPE and testing, among other unanticipated expenses. The pandemic has caused patients to fear coming to the hospital for services and many have delayed care as a result.”

The news release added, “As a community, we have made significant social changes in our lives. Schools are reopening extremely cautiously, and the economic recession has left many unemployed and in some cases without health insurance. Samaritan has also been preparing for a possible second wave of COVID-19 cases as we enter the fall. All of these factors have translated to a challenging financial situation for all healthcare systems.”

Samaritan says assistance from the CARES Act was less than expected, and it was not eligible for the Paycheck protection program.

Those affected by layoffs can apply for 200 other open positions. Those who cannot fit into those openings will be offered a severance package.


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