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Hillcrest announces layoffs after COVID-19's 'devastating impact'

Hillcrest announces layoffs after COVID-19's 'devastating impact'

Hillcrest Healthcare Systems

Hillcrest Hospital South, 8801 S. 101st East Ave., is part of the Hillcrest HealthCare system. The system announced layoffs on Monday. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World

Hillcrest HealthCare System has laid off 60 employees during a “strategic restructuring” because of COVID-19’s harmful economic effects.

Hillcrest in a statement Monday evening said the reduction is just less than 1% of its workforce of 6,700 employees. The system in early April announced temporary furloughs for about 600 employees, or 9%, for up to 90 days.

In that move, a total of about 1,340 people — or 20% — were to be affected by furloughs, reassignments or reduced hours or pay.

“We made the difficult decision to reduce staffing in some areas across our system as part of a strategic restructuring due to the devastating impact from COVID-19,” Kevin Gross, Hillcrest chief executive officer, wrote Monday. “While the reduction represents less than 1 percent of our workforce, it does not make the decision any less difficult or impactful to those team members affected. Health care organizations across the country are facing similar challenges as we work to manage effectively through this pandemic.”

Gross on April 6 told the Tulsa World that the furloughs affected employees in numerous roles, from administration to outpatient or surgery positions that were experiencing drops in workload or patient volumes.

Gross said there were “significant declines” in routine and elective procedures as patients complied with stay-at-home directives and government mandates. Outpatient office visits were down 20% to 30% in the prior three weeks, he said.

The reduced hours and pay were mostly to affect clinic settings.

In April, Gross said the difficult decisions were made to make sure Hillcrest could continue providing life-saving care with the caregivers and resources it had available.

Hillcrest has hospitals in Tulsa, Claremore, Cushing, Henryetta, Owasso and Pryor, as well as more than 80 regional clinics in northeastern Oklahoma, according to its website.

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Staff Writer

I am a general assignment reporter who predominately writes about public health, public safety and justice reform. I'm in journalism to help make this community, state, country and, ultimately, world a better place.

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