Bronson Healthcare announces pay cuts, furloughs

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Bronson Healthcare is taking several cost-saving measures, including furloughs and pay cuts, to deal with the financial impacts brought by COVID-19.

Like several other health care systems, Bronson has paid significantly more in expenses for preparations and purchases related to the pandemic.

At the same time, Bronson has seen a decline in revenue due to the suspension of elective surgeries, temporarily closing services and reduced number of office visits.

Bronson noted predictive models indicate there will be ongoing community spread of COVID-19 in southwest Michigan going into fall rather than an overwhelming surge that was predicted this spring.

Since services won’t be ramped up at once, Bronson is taking several steps to reduce expenses, which includes the following:

  • The CEO will have his salary reduced by 25%. There will also be reductions at decreasing percentages proportionate to salary levels for all Bronson executives and leaders through Aug. 15. Bronson Medical Group providers will also have their salaries reduced.
  • Contributions for retirement accounts and 403b/401k matches are suspended for the rest of the year. Employees can still make personal contributions.
  • Several hundred, mostly non-clinical employees will be furloughed. The furloughs are expected to be for four months. But some employees may be called back sooner as their areas ramp back up.

“We are working to adapt to continuing COVID-19 care while still safely serving all of our patients. We are starting to ramp up surgeries and other procedures within the scope of the Governor’s order with a goal of having our hospitals back to 100% by September and our practices, many of which have been doing video visits, at 100% by August. If we can do it sooner, we will. However, the availability of enough PPE to ensure the safety of our staff and patients in all settings continues to be a limiting factor,” said Bronson President and CEO Bill Manns in a press release.

Health leaders noted they are pursuing a variety of different grants and other government relief programs, but the timing of those are unpredictable.

Bronson is moving ahead with major projects in development, including seven offices for Bronson Primary Care Partners, which is slated to open on July 1 and the new lab at Bronson Methodist Hospital opening in late July.

In addition, the health care system is moving forward with the Bronson Cancer Pavilion in Kalamazoo and the new Bronson South Haven Hospital, which is scheduled to open in early 2021.