Connect with us

Business

Bon Secours furloughs employees not directly associated with COVID-19 response

“Our most recent projections show sustained operating losses of greater than $100 million per month under the current circumstances,” CEO John Starcher stated in a letter to employees Tuesday.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

Bon Secours Mercy Health is furloughing all of its staff not working directly on the COVID-19 response efforts, it was announced on Tuesday. In a letter to employees, CEO John Starcher outlined the nonprofit’s current struggles and plan to reduce costs for the foreseeable future.

It reads, in full:

Like our foundresses before us, we’re answering a call to serve in a time of great need, when resources are scarce and entire communities are relying upon us. Our frontline caregivers are serving with compassion, professionalism and courage as we care for seriously ill and dying patients. While we have hope that effective treatments and vaccines will be developed for COVID-19, they won’t be available in the foreseeable future. Our responsibility is clear: as the virus continues to spread, Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH) must ensure that necessary care givers, support medical services and resources are available for the patients and residents who need our life-saving care.

With elective procedures and services canceled and unanticipated expenditures being directed to COVID-19 response activities, we’re facing hard decisions over the short term. Our resources – people, supplies and finances – must be dedicated specifically to responding to COVID-19. For that reason, associates who are not directly supporting COVID-19 response activities will be placed on furlough, a temporary layoff from work. For that reason, we’re taking three key steps today.

First, we’re implementing a hiring freeze for all non-critical care delivery positions, effective immediately. Second, wage increases are frozen, effective immediately. Third, associates who are not directly supporting COVID-19 response activities will be placed on furlough, a temporary layoff from work.

I appreciate the difficulty this action places upon thousands of our associates and their families. Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19 is unprecedented for all health systems. Even though we were financially strong entering this crisis and are in a better position than many other health systems, our response to this pandemic has placed a tremendous financial burden on our ministry’s resources. Our most recent projections show sustained operating losses of greater than $100 million per month under the current circumstances.

While we’re actively working to model and anticipate the length of this crisis, we cannot accurately predict the duration of the pandemic. At this point, we can only learn from other countries that began seeing infection rates mere weeks before us. If we’re to ensure we can support the clinicians and provide resources necessary to care for pandemic victims – we cannot simply hope things will change, and we cannot wish the timing would be different – action must be taken now. That’s why some BSMH associates will be furloughed, and that’s why it’s happening quickly.

Here is high-level information about the furlough: affected associates will be paid for working through April 3, and then available PTO hours will be paid until depleted. Once all payments from BSMH stop, associates are eligible for recently enhanced state unemployment pay. In addition, the Bon Secours Mercy Health Foundation has generously donated $60 million to the BSMH Associate Hardship Fund, which will help associates facing serious financial challenges. Full details about the furlough process, including an extensive FAQ to help answer questions you may have, are available on the intranet.

This is a challenging time for everyone … for those working tirelessly at the bedside, for our health professionals and support staff fighting COVID-19 and those associates who will be furloughed. It is a time of fear and anxiety for people around the world as we pray for effective treatments and vaccines to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please safeguard your health over the coming weeks and months. While we may not be able to visit in person with colleagues, friends, and family, never has it been more important to stay connected with others.

I’m thankful for you and all we’ve achieved together. Our ministry’s response to COVID-19 has been outstanding. Rest assured that even as we deal with the unique challenges confronting us, we’re adding to the knowledge and experience that positions Bon Secours Mercy Health as a leader in health care strategy and delivery. We will come out of this crisis an improved organization, positioning ourselves for an even brighter future.

I look forward to when we’re able to come back together as a ministry, reflect on our learnings and begin to write the next chapter that will help define our proud legacy for generations to come.

May God bless you and keep you and your loved ones safe.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Business

Department of Public Utilities encourages reopening businesses to flush water before use

As businesses prepare to reopen on Friday, the utility encourages the flushing of internal pipes before any water use resumes.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

The City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has been providing safe drinking water during the COVID-19 pandemic and it remains a priority. As businesses prepare to reopen on Friday, the utility encourages the flushing of internal pipes before any water use resumes.

With non-essential business being closed due to COVID-19 since March, water has been sitting in pipes. This water can lose the benefits of necessary disinfection, which could lead to bacteria growth and thus unsuitable for drinking, hand washing, or other uses. Additionally, turning on water after prolonged closures could disrupt plumbing materials and release contaminants into the water.

“To ensure fresh water is being used by newly reopening businesses, we strongly encourage them to flush the water in their systems. This is important to maintain the public health and safety of all residents and visitors,” says DPU Director Calvin D. Farr, Jr.

This process includes running water through all faucets, fountains, and other water treatment/enhancement systems with both hot and cold water for several minutes before using.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Business

Stoney: City to “cautiously move” into Phase 1 of reopening plan on Friday, May 29th

On Thursday, Mayor Stoney announced that the City of Richmond will cautiously move into Phase 1 of Forward Virginia, the state’s reopening plan. Masks will be required in all indoor spaces and restaurants will be asked to voluntarily connect patrons’ information for contact tracing purposes.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

On Thursday, Mayor Stoney announced that the City of Richmond will cautiously move into Phase 1 of Forward Virginia, the state’s reopening plan.

“When I look at the picture in totality, given the added tools at our disposal, the current trends in our local data and my faith in Richmonders to look out for one another, I believe that Richmond can cautiously move into Phase 1 on Friday, May 29,” said Mayor Stoney at Thursday’s press conference.

During the first delay that the City of Richmond requested, the Stoney administration and Richmond City Health District expanded testing efforts, implemented a contact tracing effort, ensured every COVID-19 positive Richmonder will be able to isolate safely and securely with supported isolation, and advocated for a statewide mask requirement.

The city initially requested a modified Phase 1 reopening that maintained restrictions on places of worship and personal care and grooming services, as mass gatherings and close personal contact for extended periods of time both significantly increase chance of community spread.

Because the governor denied the city’s modified plan for reopening, Richmond will move into Phase 1 of Forward Virginia, the state’s reopening plan, with strong recommendations reflecting the mayor’s proposed modifications. Local guidance and helpful links to state guidance are available here. The state has yet to provide guidance on what Phases 2 and 3 will include.

The mayor detailed a number of best practices for residents and business owners to ensure that the city moves into Phase 1 cautiously. The best practices emerged from conversations between the Stoney administration and members of the business community, faith leadership, and health professionals.

  1. All residents who are medically able to should wear a face-covering that covers the mouth and nose when in public spaces. The wearing of a face covering does not negate the need for 6-foot social distancing.
  2. Faith communities should continue to meet virtually if possible. If in-person meetings are absolutely necessary, the mayor strongly recommends faith groups meet outside while practicing strict social distancing and enforcing the face-covering requirement.
  3. Food and drink establishments that choose to offer outdoor service at half capacity are asked to request a name and contact information of patrons who dine in for contact tracing purposes. This practice is voluntary for both patrons and restaurants. However, collecting this small amount of information for each dine-in party will go far in assisting the Richmond City Health District in tracing and containing outbreaks. Guidance on this practice is available here.

The mayor made two requests of the state: to continue to assist the city in further expanding testing capacity and in providing adequate face-coverings and hand sanitizer throughout the capital city.

“Quite frankly, we’re going to need more support from the state for our residents and our businesses to reopen safely and sustainably,” the mayor noted in his appeal. “I make these recommendations and requests of the state because, as has been my mantra this entire pandemic. Reopening should be slow and steady.”

“When public health is on the line, blindly pushing forward is not an option. Decisions must be thoughtful, and they must be based in our collective knowledge of and love for our city.”

See more reopening guidance for local businesses here: www.rvastrong.org/reopeningguidance.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Business

Health Innovation Consortium, Lighthouse Labs partner on health-focused startup accelerator

Richmond-based Lighthouse Labs, a nationally-recognized, top 25 seed-stage accelerator, will partner with the Health Innovation Consortium (HIC), a collaborative alliance working to make the Commonwealth of Virginia a hub for health innovation, to launch Virginia’s only health-focused accelerator program.

RVAHub Staff

Published

on

Richmond-based Lighthouse Labs, a nationally-recognized, top 25 seed-stage accelerator, will partner with the Health Innovation Consortium (HIC), a collaborative alliance working to make the Commonwealth of Virginia a hub for health innovation, to launch Virginia’s only health-focused accelerator program.

Founding partners Virginia Commonwealth University, VCU Health, and Activation Capital, launched HIC in 2019 to help bring health innovations to market. HIC and Lighthouse Labs will leverage the new accelerator this fall to cultivate a pipeline of health-related technologies through a three-month immersive learning experience, capital opportunities, and potential for funding.

Making the Commonwealth’s only health-focused accelerator program possible is Activation Capital, a nonprofit organization that focuses on early-stage ideas to foster the area’s growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. A grant by Activation Capital to Lighthouse Labs, along with the contributions of HIC, will support the health-focused programming by Lighthouse Labs in addition to VCU’s efforts to develop new innovations in healthcare.

The new initiative, including expertise, grants, and funding by Health Innovation Consortium, will be offered alongside an industry-agnostic vertical that will also operate as part of the 2020 fall cohort by Lighthouse Labs. Selected companies in both verticals will participate in the accelerator from August 24 to November 13, 2020, in Richmond. During the fall program, the health-focused startups and the industry-agnostic companies selected will work with top-tier mentors as they participate in targeted and adaptive programs.

“Health systems, particularly academic health systems like VCU, are looking for innovative solutions involving every aspect of health care—its delivery to consumers, its technology, and its business models,” said Peter Buckley, M.D., interim CEO, VCU Health System, and interim senior vice president, VCU Health Sciences. “The Health Innovation Consortium was designed to facilitate, support, and scale health innovation. By partnering with Lighthouse Labs, a nationally ranked start-up accelerator, we have the opportunity to attract and engage with the most promising new technologies in the country that can improve the health of our community.”

The companies selected to participate in the health-focused accelerator will use the three-month programming as a springboard to develop digital health and medical device technologies, amongst others. Founders participating in the fall cohort will also have an opportunity to tap into HIC resources, including access to an exclusive network of industry experts, early-stage venture funding, and support, after the cohort has ended.

In addition to equity-free funding, programming, and mentorship, all selected companies will have access to $1 million in advisory services and benefits from partners such as Global Accelerator Network (GAN), Kaleo Legal, Startup Virginia, and other service providers. In addition, companies accepted will participate in Demo Day(s) designed to demonstrate each selected startup to investors, alumni groups, potential customers, and peers.

“Innovation is needed now more than ever,” said Erin Powell, executive director of Lighthouse Labs. “The fall cohort by Health Innovation Consortium and Lighthouse Labs will provide traction for the most promising, high-potential startups to begin making an immediate impact in health-related industries.”

“Beyond the three-month immersive experience this fall, the post-program opportunities, and access to the Health Innovation Consortium network and connection to capital, makes this new offering the most transformative platform for those who have identified the biggest challenges in human health and healthcare and are ready to accelerate quickly to provide solutions,” said Powell.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Richmond Weather

Events Calendar