Henry Ford Health announces about 2,800 layoffs due to COVID-19 pandemic

Execs to donate part of salaries to help workers

Henry Ford Health System (WDIV)
Henry Ford Health System (WDIV)

DETROIT – Henry Ford Health System announced Wednesday that it would be laying off about 2,800 workers temporarily due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, while executives will donate a percentage of their salary to help workers.

These furloughed employees work at the health system’s six hospitals. Officials said they are not directly involved in patient care and work in areas where workloads have been drastically reduced or where operations have been temporarily closed.

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Officials said executives and senior leadership will donate 10-25 percent of their salaries to two funds created to help employees: the COVID-19 Emergency Needs Fund and the Bob and Sandy Riney Helping Hands Fund, which supports employees experiencing unexpected hardship.

“For more than 100 years we’ve been a trusted partner in our region and we have an obligation to position ourselves to continue serving our communities long after this crisis is over,” said President and CEO Wright Lassiter, III. “We will do this with a balanced approach by reducing expenses, pacing planned capital projects and identifying resources in our day-to-day operations. We’ll continue to aggressively pursue funding through federal and other assistance programs as well.”

According to officials, the health system lost $43 million in operating income in March, and that loss is expected to be even greater in April.

Officials cite the postponement and cancellation of services and procedures, temporary site closures, and an increased need for resources to care for COVID-19 patients, including personal protective equipment for team members as reasons for the losses.

Employees who are laid off will keep their health insurance and are eligible for unemployment benefits.