By Jana Mathia
Whitman County Gazette 

Colfax hospital reduces staff hours to weather financial crisis

With no local coronavirus cases and the stay-home order, business has declined


Last updated 10/23/2020 at 4:10pm

Jana Mathia | Whitman County Gazette

COLFAX–With Gov. Jay Inslee's order for hospitals to suspend non-essential services, local hospitals are tightening their financial belts in preparation of the shutdown impacting their bottom line.

"Just like everybody, we're going to have to take a hit," Whitman Hospital and Medical Center spokeswoman Laurie Gronning said.

Rural hospitals are seeing very few coronavirus cases. Elective medical procedures have been shutdown. And rural residents have been told to stay away from clinics and hospitals.

Last week, the hospital responded by cutting some employees' hours.

Gronning estimated about 10% of hospital workers are seeing a reduction of hours.

The hospital is monitoring things day-by-day, she said. Given that the hospital's billing takes about 45-60 days, Gronning didn't anticipate they would see the negative financial impact until May.

Although hospital business and staff are being cut back, the medical center is still trying to stay connected to the public.

Gronning noted that therapy classes usually offered in-person are being recorded and the video uploaded to the hospital's website and Facebook page. And its clinics are conducting virtual visits, connecting doctors and patients via the internet.

Pullman Regional Hospital, too, last week announced it was reducing pay by 25 percent for all hourly and salary workers for the next 60 days to free up $1 million in cash to weather the financial challenges.

Pullman hospital officials have said the hospital has 64 days of cash-on-hand to continue operations with no new income.

According to Gronning, the hospital in Colfax is in a better situation with 185 days cash on hand.

Author Bio

Jana Mathia, Former Reporter

Jana Mathia is a former reporter for Free Press Publishing, based in Colfax, Wash., at the Whitman County Gazette and Colfax Daily Bulletin.


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