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Mayo Clinic Health System

Mayo Clinic and Marshfield Clinic Health System will temporarily furlough some workers and reduce the salary of others while preparing for a possible surge of COVID-19 patients, both hospital groups said this week.

Marshfield Clinic will temporarily furlough staff who “aren’t currently involved in the preparation for the anticipated surge of COVID-19 cases,” the clinic said in a statement.

Marshfield executives, management staff, physicians and advanced practice clinicians will see temporary reductions in wages.

Mayo Clinic will begin temporarily furloughing some staff and reducing salaries after April 28, it said in a statement. The changes will impact northwest Wisconsin Mayo clinics and hospitals.

Details on how many Mayo Clinic staff members will be furloughed will not be known until late April or early May, the group said: “Every site and department is working through their plans,” the statement read.

Of almost 70,000 Mayo Clinic employees nationwide, fewer than one-third will see pay cuts, Mayo Clinic said.

Mayo Clinic’s statement added: “We will work with our teams in the coming weeks to ensure that our staff are supported, that the duration of this disruption is as limited as possible, and that we are ready to ramp up quickly and resume full operations when it is safe to do so.”

It’s the most recent step in a series of changes local hospitals are making during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hospitals across the Eau Claire area are postponing or rescheduling non-emergency appointments and procedures.

HSHS Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s hospitals in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls, respectively, said this week they are temporarily consolidating some services, to cut down on foot traffic and make room for a potential influx of COVID-19 patients.

The HSHS hospitals said in a statement Friday: “In addition, we have been able to redirect staff and resources at our facilities, which ensures the most efficient and highest level of care for our patients.”

But cutting down on those non-emergency appointments means a “significant drop in the number of patients being seen,” requiring staff furloughs, Marshfield Clinic said.

Mayo Clinic’s statement said postponing non-emergency procedures eliminated the majority of its revenue “at the same time we are making critical investments to develop and expand testing, conduct research to stop the pandemic and re-align our facilities and care teams to treat COVID-19 patients.”

Marshfield Clinic noted in the statement it will recall furloughed staff if patient volumes increase, or if the situation changes: “We need to pool our resources, including medical supplies and personnel, to combat this virus. However, we are still treating non-COVID-19 patients … If our patients require medical treatment, we will treat them through a variety of care pathways, including telehealth as well as in person.”

Contact: 715-833-9206, sarah.seifert@ecpc.com, @sarahaseifert on Twitter

Sarah Seifert is the L-T's education and health reporter. She has worked as a journalist in the Chippewa Valley since 2017 and joined the L-T in 2019. Get in touch at sarah.seifert@ecpc.com or on Twitter @sarahaseifert.