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Mass General Brigham Imposes Pay Cuts, Freezes Wages And Benefits As Pandemic Losses Mount

Massachusetts General Hospital. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Massachusetts General Hospital. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Mass General Brigham, formerly Partners HealthCare, is joining the long list of health care systems cutting pay and benefits to address major losses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said it lost $800 million through May, according to a statement released Wednesday. The network has received $314 million from the CARES Act but said losses could still total $2 billion by the end of the year.

To offset that projected shortfall, top executives at MGB will see a 25% pay cut for one year, beginning July 1; senior vice presidents and other leaders will lose between 5% and 20%. The company is also freezing wages and retirement benefits for all employees except those who earn less than $26.50 an hour. That exemption applies to about 20,000 employees.

MGB said it has suspended capital projects and limited spending to help avoid layoffs or furloughs.

“But we must do more to restore our system’s financial health, so that we are able and prepared to address the needs of our patients and communities in the future,” said a spokesman, in a statement. “We are committed to minimizing the financial impact of the pandemic on our 78,000 employees and remain grateful for the extraordinary work they do.”

Some providers have sought jobs in one system's hospital in recent months, thinking this usually well-capitalized network would be a safe harbor during this difficult financial period.

Elsewhere in Massachusetts, Beth Israel Lahey Health said executive pay cuts imposed in late March remain in place, but the company is bringing back some of its 2,100 furloughed employees. Boston Medical Center placed about 10% of its workforce on furlough and said it expects to maintain that reduction into the fall. Atrius Health, the state’s largest independent physician’s group, has reinstated about 500 of the 1,100 employees furloughed this spring.

A survey conducted by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission showed providers of all types have considered closing, selling or consolidating their practices as patients hesitate to resume routine care, the cost of coronavirus protections increase and losses mount.

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Martha Bebinger Twitter Reporter
Martha Bebinger covers health care and other general assignments for WBUR.

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