March 31, 2020
NOT FOR EXTERNAL DISTRIBUTION
SOURCE: Modern Healthcare
AUTHOR: Matthew Weinstock
Boasting a healthy financial sheet, HCA Healthcare does not have any immediate plans to furlough staff due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
"Many companies have had to use furloughs or even layoffs to deal with the dire economic consequences caused by this pandemic. We are not in that financial position and hope to avoid having to take these measures," CEO Sam Hazen wrote in a letter to staff today.
The health system will try to redeploy full- and part-time staff who are seeing reduced hours. Those who can't be redeployed will be eligible for a "special pandemic pay program" that continues 70% of their base pay for up to seven weeks.
"This is not a furlough," Hazen wrote. "Instead, it is a pay continuation program to assist colleagues until we better understand the long-term implications of this pandemic on the organization. This program will also apply to our colleagues in areas that support the facilities."
The Nashville-based hospital chain's revenue rounded out 2019 at $51.3 billion—near the high end of its guidance—up 10% from $46.7 billion in 2018.
HCA will pay 100% base pay for any staffer in a patient care facility who has to be quarantined under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Hazen, is donating 100% of his salary for the next two months to a company fund that provides financial aid and resources to help employees facing financial hardship.
He made $26.8 million in total compensation last year, his first as CEO, mostly from stock awards, bonuses and increased pension benefits, according to the for-profit hospital chain's 2020 shareholder proxy statement. Hazen's pay was 478 times that of HCA's median employee salary last year: $56,012, according to the company's proxy. That's up from a ratio of 383 to 1 in 2018.
"Our board of directors has also waived their cash compensation for the remainder of the year allowing the company to make an additional contribution to the HCA Hope Fund," Hazen wrote. The Hope Fund was created in 2005.