We are living in unprecedented times, and I would like to thank every one of you for your hard work and dedication. The current COVID-19 pandemic is unique, and is stressing the entire health care system. As we live through this crisis, we are witnessing the extraordinary efforts of every health care worker. As a team, we continue to care for patients, deliver the services they need, plan for the surge we anticipate, and think ahead to the recovery that lays in front of us.
One of my key priorities is to protect the health and well-being of our staff. We are pursuing every avenue to get necessary PPE, finding ways to increase testing capacity, opening up telecommuting options, talking to prospective donors and redeploying staff who may not be able to do their normal work. Enabling staff members to maintain their employment and salary has been at the forefront of our thinking.
We know that the current situation will stress us financially, and at times such as these, we should be driven by our values. With a focus on stewardship, our priority is to make sure that Denver Health can come through this crisis successfully, and continue to fulfill its mission for generations to come. And with a focus on compassion, we must care for our patients while protecting our workforce. This will require all of us to pull together to weather the financial challenges. My goal is to keep the negative impact on our current workforce as small as possible.
To that end, I am implementing a hiring freeze effective immediately. Any position that is critically needed should be filled by redeploying someone from the existing workforce, working through the Staffing Office and labor pool. Only in very rare instances will we hire any non-patient care positions with people from outside Denver Health.
In addition, we are asking all employees in areas that have seen a decrease in the need for their services, or who are unable to fulfill their normal job duties due to the situation, to talk to their supervisor about the following options:
- · Using PTO during this time;
- · Reducing normal work week hours/FTE, or;
- · Voluntarily taking leave without pay.
The goal is to reduce our total salary expense without the need to lay off employees or implement mandatory PTO/furloughs. I know that there are some areas of our organization that will be under exceptional stress over the next few weeks, especially the patient facing functions. Those staff members may not be able to take time off, or may even be asked to work more.
We are evaluating additional steps over the next few days and weeks, as the financial impact of COVID-19 is better understood. This may include mandating all employees take certain amounts of PTO, mandatory leave without pay, flex hours or adjust staffing levels, etc. The goal is to avoid these extreme measure if at all possible.
Details on how the hiring process will work are being finalized and will be shared with all leaders. My commitment is to be transparent and honest as we adapt to this developing situation.
Although these are challenging times, I am confident that if we all pull together we will emerge from this stronger than ever.
Thank you for all that you do.
Robin D. Wittenstein, Ed.D., FACHE
Chief Executive Officer
303-602-4920 (o) | 516-492-9663 (m)