Pay Cuts and Layoffs: Internal email shows financial strain of pandemic on UMMC

Pay Cuts and Layoffs: Internal email shows financial strain of pandemic on UMMC
University of Mississippi Medical Center logo (Source: University of Mississippi Medical Center)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - An internal email sent to the staff, faculty and students of UMMC shows the financial strain the coronavirus pandemic has put on the hospital.

The email mentions “substantial uncertainty” in what the future holds and the “devastating budget shortfall” on the horizon.

The hospital is currently experiencing a patient care revenue loss of more than $1 million per day since mid-March and their internal projections show a negative $100 million financial impact to their bottom line through September 2020.

According to the email, UMMC only received $17 million of the $375 million sent to health care entities across Mississippi in federal funds.

“To date, about $700 million in federal relief funds have been disbursed to Mississippi health care entities, and thus far, UMMC has received $25 million across the entire health system (less than 4 percent of funding provided to Mississippi health care entities)” the email says.

Dr. LouAnn Woodward, Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and the writer of the email, says that UMMC has not faced a challenge of this magnitude in its 65 year existence and that it will take “guts, grit and fortitude” to pull through.

Executives at the hospital are now taking budget cuts, having reduced their salaries by 15% beginning in May. These pay cuts will continue for three months.

Employees earning more than $100,000 a year will face a cut of 10% for three months starting in July.

Separations and layoffs are also required and decisions are being made at the departmental, school, program and unit level “with sensitivity to avoiding compromise of our core missions.”

In the email’s “closing thoughts” sections, Dr. Woodward says that no one will be untouched by this pandemic and for the recipients of the email to “proceed with courage.”

“We will BE PERSISTENT. And we will PERSERVERE. I know I can count on you to step up to the challenge,” the email reads. “The mission of UMMC and our vision for A Healthier Mississippi has never been more critical than at this moment in time."

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.