April 30, 2020

Leaders at the MU School of Medicine and MU Health Care announced today a set of cost-saving measures across the medical school and laid out future plans across the health system to regain losses in clinical revenue and state contributions sustained from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“MU Health Care and the MU School of Medicine have been thoughtful and proactive in adjusting our operations to find savings, but we are not immune to the economic impacts that are challenging health systems across the country,” said Jonathan Curtright, MU Health Care CEO. “Hundreds of inpatient beds have been unoccupied, elective surgeries have been canceled, and clinic visits reduced significantly. We are forced to make some difficult decisions to ensure our long-term financial stability and growth moving forward.”

In an email to all faculty and staff at the MU School of Medicine, Steven Zweig, MD, MSPH, dean of the medical school, outlined changes that will affect all faculty and staff at the medical school. These changes include:

  • Faculty will have pay reduced by 10% for the period of May 1 through July 31. Given the large impact on clinical revenue due the COVID-19 pandemic, clinical faculty who earn more than 30% of total compensation from incentive will be subject to the salary reduction for only the month of May. 
  • School of Medicine staff will take a 10% pay reduction for three months or a one-week unpaid furlough based on department needs.

“These are decisions no leader wants to make, and we weigh heavily the potential impact our decisions will have on our colleagues,” Zweig said. “These are unprecedented times, and we don’t have all the answers about what the future holds. However, we are committed to making thoughtful decisions with integrity, humility and transparency to create a sustainable future for our health system as we carry out our mission of exemplary education, research and patient-centered care.”

The health system already has taken a number of measures to find cost savings, including:

  • Asking executive leaders across MU Health Care and the School of Medicine to take a 10% pay reduction for three months, along with other senior leaders from across the MU campus.
  • Suspending travel.
  • Halting non-essential expenditures on capital projects.
  • Reducing supply costs through standardization.
  • Eliminating merit pay increases.
  • Ending approximately 70 contracts for agency-contracted, traveling nurses.
  • Canceling more than 300 open positions at MU Health Care and holding or closing another 100 in the School of Medicine.
  • Consolidating services where appropriate.

“In the coming days and weeks, as our health system finds it’s ‘new normal’ in operations, MU Health Care will continue the complex work of carefully evaluating positions throughout our health system, and we face the critical need to act now to maintain our financial standing and ensure our stability and growth moving forward,” Curtright said. “We anticipate further impacts to our workforce, including pay reductions, furloughs and layoffs. These decisions will be made thoughtfully and will be dependent on patient volumes and the changing needs of our health system as we see this pandemic’s effects on our community in the months to come. We will continue to keep employee safety and high-quality patient care at the forefront of all of our decisions.”