NorthBay Healthcare Lays Out Pandemic Recovery Plan

Posted: November 2, 2020

Changes are focused on aligning with ‘new health care reality’

NorthBay Healthcare announced today it is reducing its 2,863-employee workforce by 31 full-time positions as it implements efficiency and cost-saving measures to adjust to a “new health care reality” brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

By shifting current employees into unfilled positions, some of those employees will stay with the health system.

Solano County’s only independent nonprofit health system already had reduced its total employee count by 112 through retirements and voluntary departures since it began limiting hiring in July. Hiring for direct patient care jobs and strategically essential positions was not affected.

“NorthBay was one of our nation’s first responders to the COVID-19 outbreak and we’re feeling the fiscal toll,” said B. Konard Jones, president and CEO of NorthBay Healthcare. “We are making difficult choices, but our recovery efforts will not affect the high-quality patient care we deliver that our community depends on.”

“The harsh reality of COVID-19 forced a new normal on our personal and professional lives,’’ Jones said. “We wish we could say it’s all behind us and soon we will be back to the way it was before that first positive patient arrived. Like the majority of health systems across the country, our recovery, unfortunately, will take more time.”

Every department within the NorthBay system has initiated non-labor expense reductions, from financial services to IT to public relations.

NorthBay Healthcare Foundation, whose president retired earlier this year, will undergo a major restructuring as it “re-imagines what nonprofit fundraising will look like in the post-pandemic world,” Jones said.

In the meantime, donations will continue to be accepted by the Foundation and all endowments, funds and investments will be faithfully managed, Jones noted.  

NorthBay is working with all affected employees whose positions are eliminated to find other jobs within the health system, or provide them with severance packages and ongoing support in finding new jobs.

The pandemic is redefining health care as fewer people access health systems. Reimbursement rates from health plans have dropped. And expenses continue to rise to treat COVID-19 patients, to maintain safety measures, to conduct testing and to prepare for a possible “twin-demic” in which a new wave of the virus collides with the typical flu season.

NorthBay’s 2021 planning process made clear the need to align staffing levels with the decrease in demand for health services. The health system anticipates emergency department and inpatient volumes in 2021 will remain lower than previous years.

“Our priority in facing the challenges of 2020 and beyond is to focus on safety and patient care as we adapt to the new health care reality,’’ said Aimee Brewer, president of NorthBay Healthcare Group. “We already are applying what we’re learning from our pandemic response in caring for the most vulnerable populations. We are increasing convenience for patients seeking care. We continue to enhance and evolve digital health.”

“We will weather this economic setback and resume growing our core services and our advanced specialties, as well as making it easier for the most vulnerable populations to get care,” Jones added.

 

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