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Economy & Business

Statement from CEO Chris Barber over Impact of COVID-19 on St. Bernards Healthcare

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Arkansas Department of Health

This release from St. Bernards Healthcare President and CEO Chris Barber.  

JONESBORO (April 14, 2020) – “As we prepare for a potential surge of COVID-19 patients in Northeast Arkansas, St. Bernards Healthcare stands ready to offer medical assistance to any person who needs it. The sober reality with COVID-19, however, is that to properly address the virus’s health component, economic norms must change, too. Many businesses across our country and state have added protections for their workers at additional expense while suffering the loss of revenue from routine sales and services.

“St. Bernards has always been a good steward of its available resources, but we are no different than other healthcare providers across our state in navigating this challenging environment. To fully comply with all state and federal mandates and guidelines, we have presently ceased elective procedures and surgeries while also closing several facilities. Furthermore, our patient volume at St. Bernards Medical Center and our outlying clinics have experienced an understandable, yet substantial, decline. Specifically, our health system overall has seen declines ranging from 35 to 70 percent. Finally, we have additional COVID-19 demands to best equip our healthcare workers for a potential surge.
“Consequently, our senior leadership made a collective decision to implement as many expense-reduction measures as possible while protecting the integrity and safety of our healthcare system. Some of our temporary measures include management pay reductions, reduced hours and even more difficult, furloughs.
“We consider any individual facing these scenarios a valuable St. Bernards team member. Our decision has nothing to do with job performance or work importance, and we will assist all our team members any way we can.
“We greatly appreciate the community’s ongoing support and encourage a continuance of social distancing despite the difficult realities stemming from it.”
Chris Barber, President and CEO of St. Bernards Healthcare
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St. Bernards Healthcare, a non-profit healthcare system based in Northeast Arkansas, serves