NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 19, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- In a quickly unfolding set of developments seemingly made for Hollywood, HCA Healthcare, a Fortune 100 company and the largest for-profit hospital corporation in the country, is about to make out with $4.7 billion in federal funding while threatening to pink slip thousands of frontline healthcare heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We are facing a health crisis, where healthcare workers are battling for the lives of our nation. To propose layoffs is a slap in the face. HCA has received billions, and yet is threatening the jobs of those dedicated to helping our communities through this time," said Jody Domineck, an HCA caregiver in Nevada.
"I have never seen anything like what we face caring for COVID-19 patients. HCA has the resources and the obligation to protect frontline caregivers and patients. Yet instead, HCA is forcing a cruel choice on caregivers, to furlough and lay off essential nurses and healthcare workers or reduce benefits and compensation. Both choices will negatively impact patient care, and potentially place patients, caregivers and communities at risk. There should be no more blank checks for large, wealthy corporations like HCA," said Pat Diaz, a Registered Nurse at HCA Florida.
HCA anticipates $4.7 billion in CARES (COVID-19 bailout) funds and accelerated Medicare payments, according to their most recent earnings call. HCA CEO Sam Hazen was paid nearly $27M in 2019 according to HCA's SEC filings. And while Hazen and other execs recently announced they would donate a portion of their salaries to a fund to support their workforce, these executives appear to be giving up less than 1% of their total 2019 compensation, based on analysis of their SEC filings and announcements to date. In addition, executive bonuses are profit related and thus could incentivize executives to restart profitable elective surgeries before it is safe to do so from a public health perspective.
Despite this taxpayer-funded windfall, HCA has threatened to eliminate workers' benefits, including the pandemic pay that many workers depend on, and announced plans to lay off one in ten workers protected by collective bargaining agreements. HCA has refused to provide workers with financial information justifying layoffs.
Caregivers have vowed to fight back against the cuts, taking their message public in actions slated for multiple states.
"HCA executives are attempting to line their pockets while we care for our patients and risk infection because the company won't provide adequate PPE. We worry we'll bring the disease into our communities or home to our families. We need PPE that makes us feel safe to do our jobs," said Shirley Caston, a GI Tech at HCA's Research Medical Center in Kansas City. "These brutal cuts will make things even worse at our hospitals."
Nashville-based HCA Healthcare, with more than $50 billion in revenue in 2019, is one of largest healthcare services providers in the U.S., with 186 hospitals and approximately 2,000 sites of care in 21 states and the United Kingdom.
ABOUT SEIU HEALTHCARE
More than one million healthcare workers across hospitals, in home care and in nursing homes, are united in SEIU, the nation's largest union of healthcare workers. SEIU is an organization of nearly 2 million members united by belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers, families and communities to create a more just and humane society.
SOURCE SEIU Healthcare