Essentia Health reduces staff, redirects resources in anticipation of COVID-19

Several hundred employees who are not involved in direct patient care have been placed on administrative leave.

Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center

Essentia Health announced Monday, March 30, plans to reduce non-medical staffing levels to prepare for the expected surge of COVID-19 patients in the communities it serves.

Several hundred employees who are not involved in direct patient care have been placed on administrative leave, according to a news release. Staffing levels will continually be evaluated and adjusted as needs evolve.

“Essentia Health is focused on keeping our staff and communities safe while addressing the challenges of this pandemic,” Essentia CEO Dr. David C. Herman stated in the release.

Essentia Health officials project a 20% to 40% decrease in revenue due to pandemic-related declines in patient volumes.

Essentia is maintaining health insurance for the near future for the 500 employees, and they can take vacation time or paid time off to lessen the financial impact, as well as unpaid leave.


They also can apply for unemployment benefits, and Essentia is offering access to employee-assistance programs like financial counseling, as well as other counseling resources.

“The decision to refocus our operations for the coming COVID-19 surge is difficult because we deeply appreciate the contributions of all our Essentia colleagues,” Herman stated. “We recognize and regret the hardship this uncertainty will have on our coworkers and their families.”

Essentia Health has postponed elective surgeries and procedures to slow the spread of the virus and preserve valuable personal protective equipment, and closed some clinics and postponed routine appointments.

“We are collaborating with regional partners to share resources and ensure a coordinated response in anticipation of an expected COVID-19 surge. Predictive modeling is taking place both within Essentia Health and via our partners across the states we serve,” Herman said.

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