Cookeville Regional Medical Center is laying off 400 employees due to a decrease in patient volume.
CRMC CEO Paul Korth said the reduction in the hospital’s workforce is necessary to ensure its long-term financial health.
“The furloughing of the staff is a must if,” Korth said. “It’s something we must do at the medical center in order to continue to provide those financial resources that we have to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Korth said CRMC has seen a 50 percent decrease in total patient volume, while some outpatient services have completely closed.
Korth said that most of the layoffs are affecting nonclinical areas.
“It’s those areas where volumes have practically gone to zero,” Korth said. “Many of our outpatient departments that just do procedures or do outpatient testing for routine elective here at the medical center, because of the recent mandates, those departments aren’t doing very much patient volumes.”
Some of those areas, Korth said, include the outpatient diagnostic imaging center, outpatient rehabilitation center, the cardiac rehabilitation center, and the sleep center.
Korth said the financial situation at CRMC may become dire in the next few weeks.
“We’re paying three to five times the price we were paying a month ago for all this equipment we have to use, such as mask and gowns and those types of things,” Korth said.
Korth said that all furloughed employees are eligible for unemployment from the state and federal government. Also, the hospital will continue to fully pay for worker’s medical insurance.
Korth said considering the circumstances, the staff is holding up well.
“The staff is doing a great job,” Korth said. “This is what they’re trained to do, and they know they deal in stressful situation every day and this is no different than any other type of illness or disease they give care for here at the hospital.”
He said employees will be called back as CRMC receives more COVID-19 patients.