Beaumont, key care provider during virus, announces layoffs

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DETROIT — Beaumont Health, which has treated thousands of COVID-19 victims as Michigan’s largest health care system, said Tuesday that it’s cutting 450 jobs and temporarily laying off 2,475 employees due to a drastic drop in revenue from services that can’t be offered during the pandemic.

Beaumont CEO John Fox was blunt, saying revenue from surgeries and other procedures has “dried up — they’re gone.”

The state has barred Michigan hospitals from performing nonessential procedures to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus, which can cause COVID-19, a respiratory disease that most recover from within weeks but that can sometimes turn fatal.

Beaumont has 38,000 employees and eight hospitals in southeastern Michigan. It said most of the temporary layoffs will involve people who are not directly caring for COVID-19 patients. Most of the 450 job cuts will be among corporate and administrative staff.

“We also expect economic pressures on Beaumont and the health care industry to continue well after the COVID-19 initial surge subsides,” said Fox, who is cutting his pay by 70%.

Beaumont had operating revenue of $1.07 billion in the first quarter, a drop of $78 million. The first quarter included only a few weeks of the coronavirus.

Beaumont’s footprint has put it in the middle of the outbreak. Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties have 76% of Michigan’s virus cases. Beaumont has tested more than 15,000 people and discharged roughly 2,100 patients.

Beaumont said it had 794 COVID-19 patients Monday, down from a peak of 1,223 on April 7. More than 500 people have died at Beaumont out of 2,468 deaths statewide.

Fox said COVID-19 will be a “permanent resident” in the U.S. until a vaccine is developed.

The Detroit Medical Center said it would furlough about 480 of its hospital workers.

Meanwhile, Henry Ford Health System, which has five hospitals, reported 549 COVID-19 patients, a slight drop from Monday.

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