St. Elizabeth announces voluntary furloughs

COVID-19 has severely affected the hospital’s finances, its chief operating officer wrote in a letter.

Professional and homemade signs thanking St. Elizabeth staff are scattered around the hospital. Photo by Ray Miller-Still

Professional and homemade signs thanking St. Elizabeth staff are scattered around the hospital. Photo by Ray Miller-Still

As hospitals scrambled to deal with COVID-19, many of their other operations have fallen by the wayside, and financial trouble looms on the horizon.

That’s why St. Elizabeth Hospital, in an April 15 letter to its staff, appears to be gearing up to reduce staffing or even furlough workers.

“Over the past several weeks we have seen the census at St. Elizabeth and all FHS sites drop significantly,” hospital Vice President of Operations and COO Renee Yanchura wrote. A hospital census is how many people are admitted on a daily basis. “As a result of decreased hospital census… we are seeing a significant financial impact that must be addressed in order to ensure our long-tern financial stability.”

According to Yanchura, the hospital’s emergency department volumes are down 50 percent, inpatient and birth volumes are fluctuating, and “surgery volumes are at a historic low.”

When the hospital had low admittance days, staff were redeployed elsewhere throughout the hospital, but “due to our continued decrease in volumes… we are implementing plans to further manage our expenses accordingly,” Yanchura continued.

Among those plans are requiring managers and leaders to take paid time off between now through June; executive leaders are receiving a pay cut; and continuing to re-assign staff where necessary, or offer paid time off or voluntary furloughs.

“If we don’t react appropriately now, we will be faced with even more difficulties in the future,” Yanchura wrote. “I feel confidant that our positive, optimistic culture at St. Elizabeth will carry us through, and together we will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic a stronger team.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

King County releases annual count of people experiencing homelessness

About 5 percent more people were experiencing homelessness over last year, but the increase doesn’t appear to indicate an overall growing trend.

Man drowns during fishing trip to Deep Lake

Both the father and son were thrown from their boat, but the child made it to shore.

The Red Lion Inn at 1 South Grady Way in Renton is being used as temporary site to relocate individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo.
Renton battles King County over temporary shelter at Red Lion Hotel

County officials believe emergency health order will supersede city’s move.

A train route that would shuttle people between Eastern and Western Washington could tie in with the proposed ultra-high-speed rail between B.C. and Portland. Photo courtesy RobertStafford/
State receives King County to Spokane rail study

It would take about eight and a half hours to reach the Inland Empire from Puget Sound.

Assessments are in, Pierce County property values continue to climb

Properties in Orting saw the greatest percentage increase over last year

Courtesy of Mountain View Fire and Rescue
Mountain View Fire and Rescue seeks levy on Aug. 4 primary ballot

Service area includes unincorporated King County near the cities of Auburn, Enumclaw and Kent.

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | June 24 – July 6

Garbage bears, racing jet skis, and illegal fireworks.

Owner of proposed Enumclaw Recycling Center ordered to close Auburn location

King County has been trying to shutter the Buckley Recycle Center for nearly 15 years, and claims the lack of progress at the Enumclaw site shows the owner has little interest in complying with county regulations.

Most Read