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Essentia Health puts 500 employees on administrative leave

Updated: March 30, 2020 11:55 PM

Essentia Health announced plans to reduce non-medical staffing levels as the provider prepares for the expected surge of COVID-19 patients in the communities they serve.

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These plans include redeploying the workforce to best position Essentia Health to care for patients, while responding to the significant financial impacts caused by a reduction in services due to the pandemic. 

As a result, about 500 hundred employees who are not involved in direct patient care have been placed on a special administrative leave.

Staffing levels will continually be evaluated and adjusted as needs evolve.

Essentia is providing support for affected staff members by maintaining health insurance for the near term. These employees 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, which have been expanded and extended by recent legislation. 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,” Dr. Peter Herman, Chief Medical Officer for Essentia said in a statement. “We recognize and regret the hardship this uncertainty will have on our coworkers and their families.”

The provider has about 14,500 employees.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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