Sentara nixes annual salary increases, reduces doctor pay as company forecasts $778M drop in revenue due to COVID-19


A shot of a Sentara COVID-19 testing site in March. (WAVY photo)

VIRGINIA (WAVY) — Sentara Healthcare is making some cuts in response to a significant drop in patient volume and an expected $778 million reduction in revenue.

Those cuts include reducing physician pay by 10 to 20 percent, nixing annual salary increases for all employees and decreasing or eliminating overtime.

“While these efforts will not be easy, I am requesting your support and understanding as these measures are implemented. We have already instituted a hiring freeze and eliminated most purchased labor,” Michael Gentry, Sentara vice president and COO, wrote in an email Wednesday.

Gentry said Sentara will be $778 million below its revenue expectations if patient volumes return at the company’s projected rates.

In April, patient volumes dropped by 40 to 45 percent. Sentara has seen many patients defer treatment for serious and immediate needs due to the novel coronavirus.

Due to the decrease in revenue, Sentara needs to lower its cost structure, Gentry said.

Here’s the list of cuts as written in Gentry’s email:

  • “The Executive and Senior Leadership Team are taking pay cuts of 10%-20%.
  • Forgo annual market and merit salary increases for all employees.
  • Physician compensation adjustments to achieve an overall 10% reduction.
  • The 403b/401k matching contributions will be suspended.
  • Decrease or eliminate overtime.
  • A moratorium on conferences, continuing medical education (CME) and travel.
  • Departments will need to ensure the hours worked in their departments takes into consideration the volume and cost structure demands.”

Gentry said Sentara Healthcare will also change its services to embrace and grow digital and remote interaction with patients.

Sentara has a task force that is recommending preserving jobs in the healthcare system in its approach to addressing impacts of the novel coronavirus.

“We are a strong team and I appreciate everyone’s support as we implement these and future initiatives. We need to continue working together to redesign and retool models of care, and how we do business as we acclimate to new ways of delivering services. Our strength comes from a unified belief in our mission of Improving Health Every Day,” Gentry wrote.

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