Outer Cape Health Services (OCHS), a federally qualified community health center, announced Wednesday that a decline in patient volumes due to the coronavirus outbreak on Cape Cod has forced a reorganization of half of its 200-member workforce.
Included are temporary furloughs for 70, a reduction in work hours for select employees and layoffs for a smaller number of individuals.
“In order to survive the economic challenges presented by the COVID-19 situation, and to make sure we had the resources necessary to meet our patients’ expected needs for critical services, we had to make some painful decisions,” said Patricia A. Nadle, OCHS Chief Executive Officer. “Today has truly been one of the hardest days in my entire healthcare career. Making decisions that impact even one staff member’s life is very difficult. We deeply value the contributions made by every team member, and balancing how to care for the people we serve while also protecting those that sacrifice for us each day, has been a deeply painful process. Decisions impacting our staff are agonizing, but we are ensuring that they are supported as much as possible through our human resources department.”
To care for patients at a time of national crisis, OCHS has been providing telemedicine services for the past week to primary care and behavioral health patients, however, neither the volume of such visits nor the revenues they generate are comparable to in-person visits, as previously budgeted. In addition, OCHS health center and pharmacy hours have been adjusted to balance for staffing while still serving patient and customer needs. During this crisis, current revenue losses for OCHS are projected at $1,000,000 per month.
“OCHS continues to work hard to ensure our patient care teams are available and prepared to screen and potentially test symptomatic patients for COVID-19. Our urgent care service in Provincetown also remains open to the Outer Cape community,” added Nadle. “While this situation is challenging, we have been heartened and overwhelmed by the outpouring of private support from the community, and we hope that they will continue to stand with us, now, as generously as possible, as they have for the last 33 years. The OCHS staff is our most precious resource, and the community support has reflected that belief. We thank everyone and look forward to welcoming back as many staff to normal operations as soon as possible.”