By Associated Press - Monday, April 13, 2020

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Trinity Health in Minot announced plans Monday to furlough about 350 employees and cut executive pay as the health system deals with the financial costs of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the cost-cutting plan, 12% of Trinity’s 2,800-member workforce was placed on furlough, effective Sunday, the Minot Daily News reported. Essential staff needed for patient care were excluded.

Trinity also said its executive team will see its salary reduced by 20% while middle-management staff will see a 10% salary reduction.

Trinity President and CEO John Kutch cited a 50% drop in overall business because of state and federal advisories to cancel elective surgeries and other non-urgent medical appointments to slow the spread of COVID-19 and make space for patients sick with the virus.

“Given the economic challenges linked to federal and state requests, we have had to make tough operational decisions. We consider these cost-cutting measures to be targeted and temporary,” Kutch said.

Trinity expects the furloughs to last no more than 60 to 90 days, and plans to restore services and bring those employees back when patient volumes return, said Renae Lenertz, vice president of Human Resources.

Trinity Health has hospitals and clinics in northwestern and central North Dakota.

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