SALT LAKE CITY — In the wake of the growing coronavirus pandemic, a “limited number” of physicians and advanced practice providers — such as physician assistants and nurse practitioners — who are experiencing significant reductions to their workload may see changes to their compensation by June, according to a company spokesman.
Daron Cowley, media relations director at Intermountain Healthcare, said in a statement Monday that, so far, no pay cuts have taken place.
“Intermountain is doing everything possible to keep employees working,” Cowley said.
One way, he said, is to redeploy employees to areas of need. Employees moved to another role will continue to be paid their current rate, according to Cowley. If redeployment is not an option, he said, compensation of up to four weeks will be provided for work missed due to COVID-19.
“This is a dynamic and challenging environment that changes each day. We are continuously assessing the situation and will revisit our plans regularly,” he said.
After four weeks, Cowley said employees can use their paid time off. If all paid time off hours are used, employees can use a “negative PTO balance” of up to 80 hours.
Cowley said April paychecks for eligible employees will include a “scheduled annual increase” in pay.
The announcement comes after the state on Monday confirmed more than 800 cases of COVID-19 — including four deaths — and during a time where U.S. health care workers are facing a shortage of critical medical supplies and exposing themselves to the coronavirus.
Earlier this month, Intermountain Healthcare, which is headquartered in Salt Lake City, and the University of Utah halted non-urgent, elective procedures to free up space and to preserve medical supplies in the case that there is a surge of COVID-19 patients.
In a video posted to Intermountain Healthcare’s YouTube channel Friday addressing employees, Mark Briesacher, chief physician executive at Intermountain Healthcare, said the company is looking to alleviate financial impact and help reroute work to areas most in need.
He acknowledged the pandemic’s impact on thousands of physicians and caregivers “whose daily work has been postponed, canceled or seen a decline.”
“We all know that we’re in a dynamic and challenging environment with this pandemic,” he said in the video, adding that it is a “critical time” for physicians to be flexible with the changes created by the coronavirus outbreak.
“Some areas are experiencing extremely high demand for increased clinical support and we will need your support to meet these needs,” he said.
Briesacher said actions the not-for-profit health care system is taking include amending compensation guidelines and contracts, reviewing shift-based and salary models to assess the impact to clinic work, and making compensation adjustments to physicians and advanced practice providers whose clinic work has been reduced by 30-50%.
“Our priority is to help you continue to work and have a stable income. We’re doing that through temporary measures for redeployment and compensation,” he said in the video. “This will help us meet the needs of our patients as well as reduce uncertainty for you and your families.”
Briesacher added that more details will be shared in upcoming meetings and that plans will be revisited every two months.
“We will keep you informed on what is happening and be transparent about changes to clinical care models and compensation,” he said.