Beaumont Health, Michigan attorney general announce job cuts
DETROIT (AP) — Beaumont Health, which has treated thousands of coronavirus victims as Michigan’s largest health care system, said Tuesday it’s cutting 450 jobs and temporarily laying off 2,475 employees due to a drastic drop in revenue from services that can’t be offered during the pandemic.
Beaumont CEO John Fox was blunt, saying revenue from surgeries and other procedures has “dried up — they’re gone.”
The state has barred Michigan hospitals from performing nonessential procedures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, which can cause COVID-19, a respiratory disease that can turn fatal.
Beaumont has 38,000 employees and eight hospitals in southeastern Michigan. It said most of the temporary layoffs will involve people who are not directly caring for COVID-19 patients. Most of the 450 job cuts will be among corporate and administrative staff.
“We also expect economic pressures on Beaumont and the health care industry to continue well after the COVID-19 initial surge subsides,” said Fox, who is cutting his pay by 70%.
Beaumont had operating revenue of $1.07 billion in the first quarter, a drop of $78 million. The first quarter included only a few weeks of the coronavirus.
Beaumont’s footprint has put it in the middle of the outbreak: Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties have 76% of Michigan’s virus cases.
Beaumont said it had 784 COVID-19 patients Tuesday, down from a peak of 1,223 on April 7. Deaths at Beaumont total 575 out of 2,700 deaths statewide.
Meanwhile, Henry Ford Health System, which has five hospitals, reported 549 COVID-19 patients, a slight drop from Monday.
Michigan reported 232 new deaths from COVID-19, a 9% rise. Officials cautioned, however, that 95 deaths were days or weeks old and had just landed in the database.
Virus cases rose 3% to 32,967, the health department said. There have been 615 infections among state prisoners, including 21 deaths.
The state this week plans to post information online about specific nursing homes and their COVID-19 data, department spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin said.
Attorney General Dana Nessel temporarily laid off more than 100 people, about 25% of her office, in the first reduction in state government related to the coronavirus.
“While certain areas of the department’s legal work have dramatically increased as a result of this emergency, other areas have slowed,” spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney said.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said he would release a detailed report on deaths at city nursing homes Monday unless state regulators overrule him.
At least 124 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19, nearly 20% of all deaths in Detroit, said Duggan, who believes that number is “dramatically understated.” The fede
ral Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is sending a four-person team to assist.
Detroit hopes to have all residents and staff at 26 nursing homes tested by Thursday. Separately, 140 companies in the city with about 5,000 active employees have signed up for testing, including the U.S. Postal Service.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration abruptly canceled a contract with a firm one day after it was tapped to help reach those who have come into contact with infected people. Republicans had complained Great Lakes Community Engagement is owned by a Democratic consultant who planned to also use software developed by a firm with ties to Democratic campaigns.