On Thursday, March 27, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) announced a new supplemental pay program, called COVID Days Off (CDO) to assist full time and part-time employees whose hours have been reduced due to the COVID-19 crisis. Patient volume in ARHS hospitals and clinics has been drastically reduced, which means employees may be asked to work fewer hours.
Chuck Mantooth, President and CEO, said that the reduction in patient volumes was self-imposed stating, “over the past two weeks, in preparation for a potential surge in COVID-19 cases, we chose to postpone elective procedures, surgeries and routine office visits in our clinics. Effectively, we set aside much of what we normally do to deal with COVID-19. Due to this decline, we asked some employees to take time off.”
The CDO program gives employees an opportunity to work in other areas at ARHS, when their regular hours are reduced. It also allows them to earn the same rate of pay, regardless of the new assignment. If an alternative assignment cannot be found, employees who have agreed to participate in the program automatically receive CDO pay up to their normal compensation amount. Employee participation in CDO is by choice. In lieu of CDO, employees may also use accrued paid time off. Currently, the program will be offered through April 18, 2020.
“The purpose of CDO is to ensure that ARHS employees have a full paycheck, as we work together against COVID-19,” said Mantooth. “Right now our employees are experiencing so much stress related to COVID-19. Hopefully, this program will help relieve their financial strain until economic relief is available.”