In this May 8 photo, registered nurse Katie Hammond looks up as she talks on the phone in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Harborview Medical Center, which is part of Seattle-area health care system UW Medicine, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

In this May 8 photo, registered nurse Katie Hammond looks up as she talks on the phone in the COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at Harborview Medical Center, which is part of Seattle-area health care system UW Medicine, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

UW Medicine to furlough about 4,000 workers

Officials said it was necessary to address a $500 million financial impact from COVID-19.

Associated Press

SEATTLE — UW Medicine announced furloughs of about 4,000 members of its unionized workforce in spite of the healthcare-system’s position at the forefront of COVID-19 response efforts both locally and globally.

KOMO-TV reports the decision comes a week after the healthcare-system announced that it was furloughing 1,500 professional staff and classified non-union staff to help address the financial challenges caused by COVID-19.

In a statement, officials said it was necessary to address a $500 million financial impact COVID-19 has placed on UW Medicine.

The healthcare-system says the financial situation is the result of lost revenue at clinics due to the cancellation of elective and non-urgent procedures and surgeries as well as the high cost of treating COVID-19 patients, which includes testing and personal protective equipment.

“This has been a very difficult, but necessary, decision to address the financial challenges facing UW Medicine and all healthcare organizations responding to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lisa Brandenburg, president of UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics.

The healthcare-system has taken steps to ensure that patient care is not impacted by the decrease in staffing and that they are equipped to deal with possible future surges of patients with COVID-19, Brandenburg said.

Employees will be furloughed for one to eight weeks and will be able to keep their health insurance during this time, according to a press release from UW Medicine.

Harborview Medical Center, both University of Washington Medical Center campuses, UW Neighborhood Clinics, Faculty Practice Plan Services, UW Medicine shared services, and Airlift Northwest are all being affected by the furlough.

Talk to us

More in Northwest

$1.2 million bail for driver that hit 2 Seattle protesters

The Seattle man was the owner of the Jaguar and was alone in the car, according to a Washington State Patrol.

Protester killed on I-5 was dedicated to cause

Police say the driver drove around vehicles that were blocking the freeway and sped into the crowd.

Seattle City Council approves new tax on big business

The council voted 7-2 on the measure, which is expected to raise more than $200 million per year.

At least 8 killed in plane collision over Lake Coeur d’Alene

A dive team located the wreckage about 125 feet down in the Idaho lake. The dead include 3 children.

Surge in state COVID-19 cases driven by Eastern Washington

While the coronavirus at first pounded the Seattle area, the epicenter is now east of the Cascade Range.

Seattle Times, other media fight police subpoena for images

The Seattle Police Department is seeking unpublished photos and video of downtown violence on May 30.

Mount Vernon hotel closed due to drugs; owner arrested

The Best Western College Way Inn was the subject of an extensive drug and prostitution investigation.

Spokane health officer orders COVID-19-positive man jailed

The person was homeless, suffered from mental health problems and refused all other isolation options.

Governor orders face coverings for businesses and customers

As COVID-19 cases surge in several counties, officials are making adjustments to fend off a relapse.

Watch Gov. Jay Inslee’s Thursday news conference here

He is expected to discuss the state’s ongoing response to the coronavirus outbreak.

80 UW students in frat houses test positive for coronavirus

Public health officials have noticed a spike in cases among people ages 18 to 20.

More arrests after police clear Seattle protest zone

Police said they used pepper spray and blast balls after people started throwing bottles at them.