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Catholic Health to furlough up to 1,200 workers

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Posted at 1:36 PM, Apr 23, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Catholic Health plans to furlough up to 1,200 management and non-management positions as it faces extreme financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The furloughs will begin on Sunday as temporary unpaid leaves. The hospital system will re-evaluate the furloughs in 30 days.

All affected employees will continue to receive their current health benefits and are eligible for unemployment.

Since the pandemic began last month, Catholic Health has not been able to perform elective surgeries and has seen its emergency room volume drop by as much as 50 percent - both key sources of revenue.

"Because we will not be able to resume full services at all our facilities for some time, we have made the extremely difficult decision to furlough associates throughout our system," Catholic Health President and CEO Mark Sullivan said in a news release. "The steps we are taking are based on the needs of our system at this time and do not reflect our associates' work performance, or the value we place on the care or services they provide."

Catholic Health operates Mercy Hospital in South Buffalo, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, and Sisters of Charity Hospital and its St. Joseph Campus in Cheektowaga, which the hospital system has transformed into a dedicated COVID-19 treatement facility.

Last week, Catholic Health announced its senior leadership team would be taking temporary salary cuts of 20 percent to help the hospital system during the financial crisis.

On Wednesday, Kaleida Health reached a deal with two unions to roll out a voluntary furlough program. It will also begin Sunday and last for at least 30 days.