Hudson Headwaters Health Network
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    • 03 APR 20

    Furlough of Staff to Conserve Resources in Response to COVID-19 Crisis

    QUEENSBURY, NY (April 3, 2020) – Hudson Headwaters Health Network will furlough roughly 85 employees, beginning the week of April 6.

    Furloughed staff will remain employees of the network under a leave status and the network will pay the full premium cost of health, dental and life insurance benefits during this time period.  Primarily non-clinical staff will be affected by the furlough.

    According to Hudson Headwaters CEO Dr. Tucker Slingerland, the network’s top priority is the health of the communities and patients, along with the health of the network that cares for them. “Our top priority is to keep all health centers open, as it’s vitally important to our communities that we do everything possible to keep locations open as long as we have sufficient medical personnel available,” he explained. “This is an extremely difficult decision, but a responsible one in order to protect the future of our organization, and relatedly, the future of every individual employee and patient we serve. When the current crisis ends, we have every intention of bringing all of our staff back.”

    Hudson Headwaters, like many primary care providers across the country, has appropriately experienced a significant drop in patients coming to health centers due to important social distancing measures.  According to Dr. Slingerland, to protect patients and staff, the network has rescheduled or delayed many office appointments which can wait until the current crisis passes. “The result of this necessary rescheduling and distancing is that almost overnight we’ve seen a profound drop in patients coming to our health centers,” he said. “Fortunately, the network quickly adapted to a new way of providing care, and we are now seeing almost half of all our daily encounters through telehealth. Even so, we’re operating at less than half our previous daily patient volume.”

    Across the network’s 19 locations, providers are still caring for patients and providing much needed COVID-19 “drive-up” screening while those testing supplies last.  Network clinicians are also providing over three hundred telehealth encounters per day to help patients address both acute and ongoing chronic conditions.  The network is also anticipating that much of its clinical staff will be needed in other settings, such as hospitals or nursing homes, due to COVID-19.

    Slingerland explained how Hudson Headwaters has exercised a great deal of flexibility. “Through all the challenges, and with the many that are likely to still come, Hudson Headwaters has done our best to meet patients’ needs, support our colleagues, and protect our families as well as our personal health,” he said. “Even so, we’re operating at less than half of our previous daily patient volume. We will continue to repurpose as many jobs as possible. Despite all our careful and thoughtful adjustments, the organization remains overstaffed for the amount of work that currently exists.”

    The network’s Executive VP of Finance, Chris Tournier, emphasized that the network is financially stable, but that it must be fiscally responsible so that it can plan for the future.  “While the network has the resources to sustain several months of loss, we must also be judicious so that we have the strength to quickly ramp back up when the patient demand returns,” he explained. “We must also ensure that we have the capacity to step in for other patients and communities which may lose access to care.”

    Jane Hooper
    Community relations manager
    Hudson Headwaters Health Network
    Telecommuting phone number 518-873-9298
    Cell 518-578-6328