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U.S. university announces furloughs amid COVID-19 pandemic

(Xinhua)    15:53, May 26, 2020

SAN FRANCISCO, May 25 (Xinhua) -- The University of Washington Medicine announced on Monday that it is moving forward with furloughs for about 4,000 members of its unionized workforce amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision follows actions last week to furlough approximately 1,500 professional and classified non-union staff to help address the financial challenges caused by the pandemic, the Seattle-based UW Medicine said.

These collective actions are necessary to address the unprecedented estimated financial impact of around 500 million U.S. dollars on UW Medicine due to COVID-19, UW Medicine said in a statement.

The executive leaders, directors and managers are participating in furloughs along with staff across UW Medicine. Impacted employees will be furloughed from one-to-eight weeks and will maintain benefits including health insurance during the furlough period.

"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.

UW Medicine lost substantial clinical revenue since the onset of the pandemic due to the cancellation or postponement of elective and non-urgent surgeries and procedures and the high cost of COVID-19 treatment, including diagnostic testing and personal protective equipment, the statement said.

UW Medicine previously announced a series of measures to increase revenue and reduce expenses to stabilize its financial foundation. It has also taken urgent actions to reduce expenses, including cutting salaries of senior leaders and tight controls on spending.

These steps will achieve an estimated savings of 76.5 million dollars, on top of about 180 million dollars in federal funds and state commitments, UW Medicine said.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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