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Statement from CEO James Ross on the Financial Impact of COVID-19

Jackson, Tennessee (April 17,2020) – The economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis is being felt far and wide throughout the country, and the healthcare industry is not immune. Lower volumes, closure of nonessential services, and the cancellation of elective procedures across the country and in Tennessee have left hospitals with concerns regarding cash flows and how to continue operations in the foreseeable future. Our health system is no different.

Over the past month, in order to be fully compliant with government orders and to promote social distancing, West Tennessee Healthcare temporarily closed several facilities, such as LIFT Wellness Center, West Tennessee Surgery Center, and Skyline Endoscopy Center, as well as other departments.

As we look to the future, we must take additional steps in response to the economic impact of COVID-19 on our health system. Consequently, our executive leadership team has made the collective decision to implement many expense reduction measures while maintaining the quality and safety of the health system. Some of these measures include management pay reductions, reduced hours and furloughs, and suspension of the employer contribution to the 403b retirement plan. Furloughed employees will retain West Tennessee Healthcare benefits and may be redeployed in the event of a surge of patients.

The duration of this crisis is uncertain. We are continuously evaluating the current situation, and we will continue to adjust our operating structure accordingly. We continue to work with our state and local leaders to monitor projections on the number of cases and hospitalizations we might be seeing in the near future.

We are also making every effort to take advantage of relief provided by the government and other avenues to offset the impact and continue to provide essential patient care.

I want to assure you that we would not be taking such drastic steps if we didn’t have to. We have an obligation to continue to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve while providing exceptional and compassionate care for generations to come. Hopefully, the steps we take today will help us sustain our system for the long-term.

We appreciate the community’s ongoing support during this unprecedented crisis because we are all in this together.  Our steps to flatten the curve ARE making an impact, and  we stand ready to offer medical assistance to anyone who needs it.