SOMERS POINT — Employees at Shore Medical Center received a letter Monday from Vice President of Human Resources Alan Beatty offering the option to take a voluntary layoff.
It comes as the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, has overwhelmed many health care facilities.
The letter was sent to all employees in all departments, including frontline medical staff such as doctors and nurses, said Brian Cahill, spokesman for Shore Medical Center. Not every employee who expresses interest in taking a layoff will qualify, depending on his/her department’s needs, Beatty said in the letter.
Beatty said in the letter, which was obtained by The Press of Atlantic City, that significant expenditures on personal protective equipment, or PPE, related to the pandemic and cancellations of elective surgeries and other services have led to a “dramatic decrease in revenues.”
The situation is not unique to Shore, Beatty said.
“As a result, we have made reductions in staff hours, so that we can allocate every possible resource in order to care for our patients,” Beatty wrote. “These decisions are difficult, but necessary.”
Shore, which has 1,500 employees, has treated patients who have tested positive for COVID-19.
As of Monday afternoon, 29 people had tested positive for the disease in Atlantic County.
Employees who are granted the voluntary layoff package will be able to continue their medical benefits through May 2 and their contribution will be waved, Beatty said.
Those employees will be eligible for rehiring and will be given priority consideration once the business and economy are more stable.
Cahill said some employees requested the voluntary layoff option ahead of possible involuntary layoffs.
“Our volumes are drastically down, and we, like everyone else, are feeling the economic impact of the virus,” Cahill said. “We are doing what is necessary to provide our clinical teams on the front line with everything they need to treat our patients and remain safe. This includes making difficult decisions on allocating resources from other areas.”